The authorities have not been able to fill with practical and semantic content the current state of emergency regime in Moldova and, thus, have confirmeditspolitical underpinnings when introducing it.
For more than a week the state of emergency has been in effect in Moldova. It was approved by MPs as requested the government on March 3.Afterwards, the Emergency Situations Commission identified a number of restrictive measures aimed at combating the pandemic. Among them: tougher sanctions against economic agents who violate quarantine, a special movement regime for people in Chisinau and Balti and for public and private institutions’work, a ban on mass events, etc.
It should be admitted that by the time the state of emergency was introduced, Moldova was fully being “wavedaway” by the third COVID-19wave. On March 24, was set an absolute anti-record for the number ofcases, whilst the number of those in serious condition and deaths number was constantly growing. Despite this, one immediately saw not epidemiological but very political considerationsin the actions of the government and parliament.
Firstly, the rush that the decision was made in parliament (as well as the lack of a well-developed strategy for restrictions during the quarantine period) attracted attention. Secondly, not long ago in mid-March, socialists harshly criticized Maia Sandu and the Supreme Security Council for the initiative to introduce a state of emergency for two weeks. Then, Igor Dodonaccused the president of intending to organize a new lockdown: “She wants to block all economic and institutional processes and force people stay closed at home. She demanded closing everything that moves in the country. This is a thoughtless and disastrous proposal that does not take into account citizens’ and economic experts’opinions, as well as social and economic consequences.”
Parliamentary majority’srhetoric changed dramatically when the candidate for prime minister Mariana Durlesteanugot unexpectedly rejected and the vote for Igor Grosu’sCabinet of Ministers subsequently failed. Thus, the preconditions were created for parliament dissolution and early elections holding, a thing the coalition party did their best to avoid. The only option that under current circumstancescould postpone the elections was introducing the state of emergency – and it was promptly implemented for 60 days at once.
Even though the rapidly deteriorating epidemiological situation played into the hands of parliament, it was a very noisy move from all points of view. Beingtired of all sorts of restrictions, the population took it, to put it mildly, not with enthusiasm. The legal conditions for the state of emergency introduction were not met (the vote on it was initiated either by the interim government, or by a group of deputies – anyway, none of them had the legal authority to do so) and that provides powerful arguments for its abolition in the Constitutional court.
What is most important, over the past time, authorities have not been able to prove the state of emergency’svalidity in, let’s say, practical terms. It turned out to be somewhat half-hearted and ill-considered: chaotic measures that sometimes defy logic (prohibition to walk in parks whilst working markets, supermarkets and other crowded places), that get canceled at the local (!) level, the lack of important points as supporting the economy, the vague situation with vaccination and vaccinessupply. Rejecting the most serious restrictions is easily explainable – no one wants to excessively limit the population and the economy – but just because of this, the meaning of the current state of emergency is completely lost. Now, rumor has it about some tougher measures but without much specificsagain.
All this has only solidified the opinion of purely political reasons in introducing the state of emergency. In fact, it became clear quite quickly that the decision was taken in a hurry, given the changes in political environment, and that no one thought about its internal content in advance. This looks rather strange, because such scenario has long been viewed as an opportunity for the ruling majority to postpone the dissolution of the parliament, and it was described here a month ago.
Having no Plan B could be costly for the PSRM-Shor alliance. The RTA initially paid attention to all the riskiness of this venture, which is unlikely to help achieve the intended goals – there have been reports recently that opposition deputies are preparing a letter to the Constitutional Court with a request to recognize the imposition of a state of emergency on the territory of the country as illegal. Based upon the letter of the law, the Constitutional Court has no special grounds for both not satisfying this request and not stating the occurrence of conditions for the dissolution of parliament.
The opposition’s behavior in this situation was no better than that of its opponents. Instead of immediately appealing against the “illegal”, in their opinion, decision of the parliament, they tactfully waited for more than a week using this pause to criticize the state of emergency and its “authors”. Nevertheless, the damage to the socialists and the Shor supporters will be incomparably higher. Especially taking into account Aureliu Ciocoi’s statement admitting that such actions were part of the political struggle, “I think that 30 days would be enough, but in the decision presented to parliament, we did not indicate any time limit. At first, it was possible to establish a state of emergency for 30 days, and then, depending on the development of the epidemic, decide whether to extend it or not. I can admit that the recommendation made by the government in parliament was used for political purposes.”
In addition, the leader of the socialists, Igor Dodon, also made a statement some days ago in which he directly linked the annulment of the state of emergency to the appointment of a new government. “In order to cancel the state of emergency in Moldova, we must have at least 350-400 thousand vaccinated, and doctors must clearly say that there will be no more outbreaks of infections. Or a capable government should be appointed. As soon as the president returns to the constitutional field, or the Constitutional Court decides that we can appoint a cabinet, the parliament will cancel the state of emergency on the same day,” Dodon said. The logic of the ex-head of state is understandable, but still such speeches are more likely to play into his opponents’ hands.
Early elections are inevitable. So far, the initiative comes from the president and her entourage. PAS will certainly use the mistake with an emergency in the future election campaign as a proof of the unscrupulousness of their fellow legislators from the PSRM-Shor coalition. As recent polls show, there is a fragile parity between the three parties, and any episode can swing the political pendulum in one direction or another. In these conditions, all participants in the future electoral race should prepare their tactical steps with particular care, which has not been observed yet. The move with an emergency should be recognized as frankly hasty and unsuccessful, and it can loudly backfire on its initiators during the upcoming elections.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.