The upcoming elections’ main intrigue is smoothly shifting to what results will show second-tier parties that will get into parliament and become a makeweight for the ruling coalition formation, and which ones exactly will enter it
Despite the fact that there’s less than a month and a half left before the elections, their extraordinary nature does apparently become the main reason for the main players quickly got involved in the pre-election process, whilst less strong political projects continue to be harnessed for a long time. Nevertheless, experts expect that about 15-20 electoral competitors will eventually join the electoral race. Such a long swing and a so far relatively calm campaign suggests that the main battle is likely to occur in the last two weeks. It is them to predetermine the final outcome of the entire competition.
If you look at the enlarged picture of the current situation, the main confrontation will take place between two key actors – PAS and the bloc of Communists and Socialists (BCS). Other party projects for the most part set themselves more mundane goals. Some of them are applying for participation in the Moldovan political league for the first time and use the pre-election context as a convenient platform for their presentation. Others were introduced with very specific goals – to worsen the final result of the two main finalists.
While the candidates for deputy mandates continue their careful preparation for the decisive phase of the battle, polish their program documents and slogans, interested international players are also trying to “warm” their favorites with generous financial support and generate additional motivation for the Moldovan voter.
Without going into details of the still very fragmented and dynamically changing electoral sociology, we can safely make an intermediate forecast that political formations located in the first and second echelons of the Moldovan internal political field can confidently enter our future parliament. We are talking about PAS and BCS, as well as the forces of the second order: the block Renato Usatii, SHOR and the unionist AUR.
At the current stage, experts are inclined to believe that the rating of the party loyal to the president has reached a plateau and is not growing anymore, so the chances that it will take a sole majority in the new legislative body are low. That is why the main intrigue is slowly shifting towards who exactly and with what result from the second echelon parties will get into parliament and become a makeweight for the formation of the ruling coalition.
It depends on who exactly will become the holder of the “golden share” among the party minority shareholders and in many respects depends on which path the post-election events will take, what profile the future coalition will be and what policy it will pursue. Taking into account the specifics of the ShOR party and unionist projects, perhaps it is Usatii’s bloc that has the greatest chances of becoming an accepting political force both for PAS and for communists and socialists.
Here I recall the example of the Democratic Party, which at one time became the very minority player that, through sophisticated tactics of behind-the-scenes negotiations, was able not only to bargain for itself unique political positions in almost all the memorable Alliances for European Integration and stay afloat for many years, but also in the end, push out almost all of their competitors from the Moldovan political Olympus. And then also to monopolize the country for several years.
It is still difficult to say whether Renato Usatii has such far-reaching plans, and it is hardly worth comparing his political ambitions with the talents of Vladimir Plahotniuc. However, there is no doubt that Usatii understands that his political potential is far from being exhausted, and he is far from being at his peak, but just at the initial stage of his political career. The confidence of the Mayor of Balti that his entry into the next parliament is almost inevitable, gives him the opportunity to openly voice his wishes and interest in relation to certain state departments and institutions in the midst of the election championship.
Of course, Washington and Brussels still count on a “perfect victory” for the pro-presidential party to ensure stable and long-term governance of the country, which almost every year slips into protracted internal political crises. At the same time, despite the fact that Maia Sandu does not show any signs of attention to her potential coalition partners, the representative visit of the European ambassadors to Balti on the city day, a personal meeting with Renato Usatii and generous donations from the European Union indicate that Balti mayor has already been approved by the West in case of “Plan B”. From this, the media and political preparations for a possible alliance between Sandu and Usatii are launched in advance.
Most likely, this alignment is not quite to the liking of Maia Sandu, who, following the logic of political sterility, is unlikely to want to enter into coalition cooperation with anyone who will get into the new parliament. After all, absolutely each of them, sooner or later, is capable of compromising the “impeccable” reputation of the Moldovan president. Therefore, it is quite possible that the formalization of inter-faction relations will never happen, and political formations will confine themselves to situational and tactical voting for the cabinet of ministers.
Ideally, Sandu is determined to repeat the success of her Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and get a “controlling stake” in a future legislative assembly. If, according to the results of the elections, PAS does not receive a single majority, this will significantly weaken the position of the head of state. As the experience of her predecessors shows, the lack of stable parliamentary support and dependence on coalition partners can deprive any chances for the future of any, even the most promising Moldovan politician.
The current lull is most likely a sign that the PAS campaign headquarters is scrupulously looking for ways to maintain the current high level of popularity among voters, since the risks of going down unexpectedly are very significant. In addition, the main dilemma of the strategists of the pro-presidential party is how to make another small leap in the electoral rating in order to achieve the maximum goal (51 mandates) and exclude any possibility of the “golden share” falling into the hands of any of the electoral rivals.
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