Opinion: The Hardest Work for PAS Still Lies Ahead

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Opinion: The Hardest Work for PAS Still Lies Ahead Within six months, the people of Moldova handed over to PAS the keys to the country's main governing institutions: the presidency, parliament and government. However, it won't be easy for the party to fulfill the given opportunities, RTA expert Vladimir ROTAR says Vladimir ROTAR The vote count following the early parliamentary elections was completed yesterday to finally record the landslide victory of the pro-presidential party. Scenario, that seemed to be not the likeliest until recently, nevertheless did come true: despite a generally sluggish election campaign, PAS scored a landslide win and will now solely lead Moldova to a new future. Curiously, almost a quarter of the votes came from abroad, thus securing about 15 mandates out of 63, together with the parliamentary majority. This means that the diaspora factor has proved itself, as expected. Even without taking that into account, it should be admitted that the party's breakthrough within just five years, from a deep opposition to sole rule, is more than impressive. Brussels and Bucharest are heaping their praises on the electoral triumphant. The Romanian Foreign Ministry, for example, stated a step towards the "irreversibility of the European path." In a sense, this is a doublespeak: Moldova has never abandoned the pro-European course for real even before the latest elections. Another thing is that from now on, given the hypothetical monolithic political system of the republic painted in "pro-Western colors", the process might accelerate. However, the Action and Solidarity party's victory and full power alone cannot be a 100% guarantee of success on the path towards reforms and transformations. Here we not only recall the times when the country was run by the alliances for European integration, but also draw attention to the PAS having acute lack of experience in the field work. The main problem is that its members know only how to manage a political tug-of-war, but at the same time they are in fact newcomers in terms of the real management of state affairs. Catchy political slogans and mantras, like the fight against corruption and thieves, won't be enough: people who gave the party a huge "credit of trust" will expect effective and prompt measures to improve the domestic situation. However, the PAS's short-term experience of governance doesn't inspire much positivity. Even when in the coalition with PSRM, Maia Sandu's formation basically continued the logic of political struggle, focusing on gaining control over as many state institutions as possible, which ultimately caused the alliance to collapse. As for its success, nothing particularly comes to mind, except the warming of relations with Western partners. The current situation is fundamentally different. With no need to engage in tough negotiations to form a coalition, the party has a big advantage, which at the same time significantly increases the degree of responsibility. There will no longer be anyone to blame for failures, so PAS will have to solely face all the criticism. The criticism will undoubtedly follow - first of all, from the left-wing parliamentary factions. Thus, right now the party needs a coherent program of action and careful staffing of the leading positions in the government and key ministries. An increase in pensions is already stated as one of the priority measures - a somewhat populist move, but generally positive, especially if the funds raised to that end won't disrupt other important development projects of the country. However, the main priority is the fight against corruption, as well as reorganizing the justice system and state bodies. Certainly, a titanic work is to be done in this regard to clear these "Augean stables". The main thing is that the "disinfectants" do not get engrossed with the process turning it into a real witch-hunt and reproducing the worst practices of post-Maidan Ukraine with its chaotic lustration. In this regard, it is important for Igor Grosu and his associates to keep in mind the experience of neighboring Ukraine, in which two years ago a promising politician defeated the incumbent in the elections, and a few months later had the largest parliamentary faction with an independent majority. What happened next is well known. Both Volodymyr Zelensky and Servant of the People fell short of the voters' expectations, their ratings quickly dropped several-fold, leading subsequently to a loss in local elections. As to the key problems, such as total corruption, poverty and war in the east, they are still very far from being resolved. Therefore, now I would like to wish PAS not to let success go in their heads and remember that their sole rule is not a constant at all. To run the country which suffers depopulation, poverty, unresolved territorial conflict and the constant threat of losing sovereignty is not easy. All the predecessors of the pro-presidential party failed to cope with these challenges and, as a result, lost credibility. Likewise, there is no guarantee that PAS will be able to avoid this fate four years later.