The Electoral Campaign in Moldova, What Will It Be Like?

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Sergiu CEBAN Early parliamentary elections promise to be even more tense and oversaturated with compromising materials than last year's presidential race The Constitutional Court declared the decision to declare a state of emergency illegal, which, in fact, opened the way for issuing a presidential decree on parliament dissolution. Just as expected, Maia Sandu did not fail taking advantage of this opportunity and did not delay officially starting the next exciting election race. Even if the parliament powers got terminated, the legislative body will one way or another, continue its work on a par with the government in a mode of truncated functionality, in order to if necessary, adopt ordinary normative acts and hold a commission meeting. Most likely, in the coming months, the parliamentary platform is to be used not as for its intended purpose, as a high tribune for the widest possible dissemination of their pre-election messages. Experts believe that within all existing circumstances’ complexity, the head of state should have consulted with the factions and with financial sources to determine the optimal date for the elections, before signing the document. However, apparently, Sandu decided to quickly put an end to this protracted confrontation history with parliamentarians and did not even count on any compromise at all. This is perhaps the only remnant clue for people's deputies to try and challenge the presidential decree in the Constitutional Court. Yesterday's decision on the state of emergency was admitted surprisingly quite calmly, without further deputies’ interventions. Experts associate such a smooth development of events, first of all, with the visit of the US Ambassador to Igor Dodon, which was reinforced by the State Department's public commentary on the internal situation in Moldova. Nevertheless, supporters of the pro-European and pro-Romanian forces gathered anyway near the Constitutional Court building to noisily meet the “great victory” which traditionally has a thousand fathers. Despite the fact that it is not yet clear the way exactly elections will be arranged, judging by party leaders’ statements, the PSRM has already entered the regime of an active election campaign. Yesterday, towards evening Igor Dodon changed his public rhetoric quite abruptly and returned to the traditional resonant messages about NATO, about the independent state with a great centuries-old history, Orthodoxy, etc., which are most likely aimed when activating and retaining their "nuclear electorate." Many paid as well attention to the socialist leader’s conciliatory appeal to mobilize all political forces on the left flank so that to adequately resist the powerful revenge of the pro-Western parties. However, one should not expect that Vladimir Voronin, Marc Tcaciuc or other prominent figures of this political spectrum will march in the same column with Igor Dodon. As well known, over recent years the PSRM leader has systematically cleaned up the space around him actively ousting his electoral competitors with their political projects, including quite promising ones. Everyone does clearly understand that the PSRM will become this election campaign’s main target, so it is rather risky bearing subsidiary responsibility with the socialists. There is no doubt Igor Dodon himself understands all this but he still "stretches out his hand" to potential associates to form an electoral bloc which most likely, is viewed by Moscow as one of the ways to distribute the load and negative pressure from competitors. One way or another, the final electoral space crystallization should take place within a month; we’re to see afterwards what length the ballot will be. Most likely, in the coming weeks, the process of preparing new political projects will continue and individual party structures will merge into enlarged blocs. First of all, changes can be expected within the unionist flank, where Bucharest, judging by the behavior of the Romanian ambassador, clearly sets itself the task of getting a certain number of deputy seats in the future parliament. The PAS party, which is close to the president, has already announced it will enter the pre-election campaign on its own, setting itself the maximum task - to collect the number of votes necessary to form a simple majority. It is not yet clear what the thematic profile of the campaign will be for the main favorite of the race and whether the leaders of the political formation will be able to successfully convert their informal leader’s achievements (represented by the president) into a comfortable number of deputy mandates in the new parliament. The nowadays certainty together with the expected this summer deep political transformation should be taken into account as well, since it will one way or another, bring all state system’s layers into a natural movement already now. It is first of all, about various levels officials, who are already searching new guidelines and centers of political decision-making. It is possible that the PSRM's informal control over most of key authorities will weaken and state institutions will become increasingly loyal to the Moldovan president. Basically, even taking into account the fact that the Information and Security Service was left subordinate to the head of state by Constitutional Court’s decision, there is reason to believe that the election campaign promises to be oversaturated with compromising materials and become even more "dirty" and tense than last year's presidential race.