The PCRM-PSRM pre-election alliance can mobilize supporters and bolster electoral base of both parties. However, this union also features enough weak points
Last week, the chairmen of the PCRM and PSRM officially signed an agreement to form the Communists-Socialists Electoral Bloc (CSEB) to jointly participate in early parliamentary elections. Experts say, this was mainly a forced decision and, in fact, the only possible one to stop the socialists’ electoral exhaustion and set a new benchmark for loyal voters.
The final stage of the public announcement and documentary-procedural registration of the CSEB coincided with Igor Dodon’s visit to Moscow, where, apparently, the finishing details and conditions for the future communist-socialist association formation were agreed. The active phase of negotiations between the two parties was most likely in February-March this year. During that period, Voronin and Dodon stopped public wrangling and ventured a “pragmatic reconciliation” heeding the arguments of party advisers and some external partners.
The pre-election alliance came in a way as a surprise, given the difficult nature of relationship between the two parties’ leaders. Therefore, one of the main challenges to be currently met by political technologists of the two political formations is to ensure a correct electoral positioning and convincing media interpretation of the project. It should be noted that political opponents have already begun to vigorously target the bloc’s weaknesses, dubbing a new political formation as a “renegade socialists’ return to confess” and “the Moldovan communism reincarnation”.
Some specific details indicate that the block will run on a “dual-core processor” during the election campaign, with Vladimir Voronin to top the list of potential people’s deputies. Interestingly, the PCRM, in fact, had far from one hundred percent chances of getting into the new parliament, while the top ten list looks clearly disproportionate to the current party rating (about 1:3). positions paving the way for a return to the top political league of Moldova. This may testify to the success of the negotiations specifically for the communists who managed to bargain good starting positions for themselves that pave the way for their return to Moldova’s top political league.
So far, it appears that the Communist party has become a protective shell for the CSEB in which the socialists are forced to play number two, being, in theory, the holders of a majority stake. Based on Igor Dodon’s statements, two factions are expected to appear in the future parliament, which is most likely due to the desire of the socialist leader not to stay long in Vladimir Voronin’s shadow and restore his nominal leadership position as the head of the PSRM faction. However, as practice shows, the statements and desires of the socialist leader do not always correlate with real situation. Therefore, it should not be ruled out that Voronin’s role as a balancer will continue – after all, it is not clear if the bloc’s “dissolution” into two factions will be manageable enough and whether such a formal disintegration will not bring other unexpected surprises.
It is also obvious that such an electoral collaboration with advantages for the communists does not entirely satisfy individual groups within the PSRM, since it further reduces the chances of second-tier leaders getting into parliament. Some tensions within the Socialist Party are inevitable, but nothing critical should be expected, since this leftist alliance has been identified as the most effective strategy to win seats in a new parliament.
The first pre-election messages voiced by Voronin and Dodon (external management, NATO tanks, traditional values, identity, relations with Russia) represent a geopolitical narrative traditional for Moldovan electoral campaigns which continues to “hook” a certain part of Moldovan voters both on the left and on the right flank.
Experts are divided in their opinion as to the appropriateness of establishing the “Communists and Socialists’ Electoral Bloc” as kind of a symbol for revival of an epoch. It is quite obvious that the structure of the Moldovan electoral field and the preferences of various social groups in Moldovan society have significantly transformed over the past 10-15 years. Young people are less concerned with threats from the West and the school curriculum lacking lessons on Moldovan history.
The main risk is that a new generation of voters who sympathize with left-wing parties is waiting for extraordinary initiatives, a mature and creative agenda. They got disappointed with the communists in their time, and later were waiting for the desired novelty from the socialists. The success of this project depends on whether the CSEB comrades will be able to offer new narratives to their relatively young electorate and to interest them with a fresh breakthrough agenda. The bloc’s main rivals on the left field are ambitious alternative projects: the Civic Congress and Renato Usatii’s Electoral Bloc.
However, even in the worst-case scenario, the bloc can confidently receive a considerable number of votes at the expense of its traditional nuclear electorate mobilized through a tactical merger of the leading left forces. The strategists of the common project seem to have staked precisely on a guaranteed “tit in hand”: the elder electorate is traditionally most active, while the category of undecided citizens is also very large.
The next sociological polls may well reveal new trends signaling the CSEB’s success in increasing the base of its supporters.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.