The parliamentary majority is preparing to introduce a state of emergency in Moldova due to the worsening epidemiological situation – in fact, the last way to postpone early elections
When consultations with parliamentary factions completed and Maia Sandu subsequently appealed to the Constitutional Court with a request to ascertain that circumstances for the dissolution of the legislative body of the republic have occurred, the suspense of waiting for a response from the ruling majority followed. The latter realized the reality of the Court’s positive conclusion and decided to counterattack their political opponents.
Yesterday, during an evening meeting, the Moldovan government decided to appeal to the parliament with a request to declare a state of emergency in the country due to the deteriorating sanitary and epidemiological situation. As you know, in accordance with the current legislation, the state of emergency allows the powers of the Cabinet of Ministers be extended to implement prompt and immediate measures. Also, most importantly, it limits the possibility of holding any elections to both local and republican authorities. According to some reports, the state of emergency draft resolution provides for its introduction for up to 60 days with the possibility of extension.
Earlier, the likelihood of such a scenario was predicted if the Socialist Party and Igor Dodon exhaust all the possibilities to reach an agreement with the presidency and turn the current situation in their favor at least partially – that is, postpone the snap parliamentary elections until a more opportune moment.
Admitting the possibility that the Moldovan Constitutional Court may respond to someone’s requests and issue an advisory opinion on the merits of Sandu’s appeal within a day, the parliamentary majority decided to speed up procedurally and act proactively, calling a plenary session of the parliament today. The only objective obstacle that can prevent the PSRM and Shor/For Moldova parliamentary factions from voting for the emergency regime is the impossibility to secure the required number of deputies who, along with other citizens of Moldova, are susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
It should be recalled that a few weeks earlier, after a regular meeting of the Supreme Security Council, Maia Sandu had already suggested to the interim cabinet of ministers to consider the possibility of introducing an emergency regime for two quarantine weeks with a clear plan for temporary restrictive measures. However, at that stage, the Socialist Party and Igor Dodon personally criticized the head of state for such ill-considered initiatives, saying that another lockdown would only worsen the situation in the country and intensify the socio-economic crisis.
Experts in Chisinau believe that the introduction of a state of emergency is traditionally associated with high risks, including political, which the Socialist party would rather avoid given the continuing decline in their popularity. Despite the expanded powers of the already loyal government, the PSRM takes almost full responsibility for the dire epidemiological situation and its consequences. A hastily launched emergency initiative is a dangerous undertaking which is confirmed by the fact that it does not contain a specific time frame, a set of measures aimed at improving the current epidemiological situation, as well as the sources to cover possible losses for both the state and the private sector.
The haste with which the parliamentary majority intends to implement its plan is most likely connected with Igor Dodon’s trip to Moscow. Therefore, before boarding the plane, it was important for the socialist leader to demonstrate to his foreign partners that the ex-president still exercises main control over the internal political situation in the state – even in spite of the aggressive attempts of Maia Sandu and the collective West to realize their scenario of a “constitutional Maidan” in the Republic of Moldova by radically redesigning the parliament.
It is possible that the disposition in which the socialists will quite likely be later today, after voting for the state of emergency, should also become an additional argument in the issue of providing Moldova with the Russian vaccine. Igor Dodon’s main argument about the undesirability of parliamentary elections, which will be postponed since the introduction of the state of emergency, is the need to vaccinate a significant part of the population. In this regard, in order to convincingly legitimize the demand for an emergency, the leader of the socialists, upon his return from Moscow, should have at least clear dates and volumes of deliveries of the Russian vaccine to Moldova.
Meanwhile, a number of experts point out that introducing the state of emergency is not that easy in terms of a law. This is primarily due to the fact that the retired government does not have the authority to initiate such issues before parliament. Previously, this fact was indirectly recognized by acting Minister of Justice Fadei Nagacevschi, who presented the draft decision during a cabinet meeting. He once again indicated the limited competences of the executive body, which do not allow to propose, for example, specific terms for an emergency regime.
Such a move is exactly not the best one for the parliamentary majority. It is certainly a forced measure and the only option to prevent the avalanche in the form of early elections. However, introducing the state of emergency, even if not all legal aspects are observed, will provide grounds to the president to once again appeal to the Constitutional Court and challenge the legality of the joint decision of the government and parliament. It is possible that this week the head of state will get the validation from the Constitutional Court and subsequently sign a decree on the dissolution of the country’s legislative body with a specific election date. Whether the decree will come into force or Moldova will plunge into another lockdown is yet again to be decided by the highest court.
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