Opinion: The First Month of the New Government Was Quite Rocky

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More elegant and deliberate moves were expected from the government comprised of PAS descendants, rather than numerous scandals and a fierce struggle for total political domination
Sergiu CHEBAN: Traditionally, attempts to sum up the first results of the work of the president or the government are made after the first hundred days. However, the intensity of events since the appointment of the new cabinet of ministers is so high that many journalists are already eager to evaluate its first month's activities. The post-election euphoria expectedly faded quickly. Visits of eminent international guests no longer cause the same excitement, and citizens more often view the authorities' actions through the prism of their social and domestic interests. Unlike the election campaign, which for the Action and Solidarity Party was quite smooth and very successful, the entry into power is not easy, with scandals and poorly concealed irritation even among the supporters of the current parliamentary mono-majority. After all, it was expected to make much more elegant and deliberate moves that would allow avoiding much criticism. Amid an obvious shortage of personnel, the new government couldn't help but resort to hiring distant and close relatives for the state positions, a typical phenomenon of the Moldovan politics. The opposition and anonymous network trolls readily picked this up and quickly created various Internet memes for the country's leadership, such as the "government of cousins". However, the story with the requirement for unvaccinated teachers to undergo the PCR testing every two weeks at their own expense seems to be more detrimental to the image of the Action and Solidarity party, and at the same time absolutely ridiculous. Such a strange move ahead of the Day of Knowledge, the harsh comments of Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita in that regard, for which she was forced to publicly apologize, exposed a rather poor training of the current state managers. It seems, they are still running the election campaign and haven't set their mind on responsible work. The epic with the demonstrative and politically aggressive attempts to oust Prosecutor General Aleksandru Stoianoglo from his post received the greatest resonance over the past month. It is clear to everyone that the main reason is his disloyalty to the new government that prevents taking the long-awaited control over this important state institution. After the Constitutional Court denied the Prosecutor General's request to suspend the amendments to the law "On the Prosecutor's Office" adopted by the parliament and the President's closest legal expert Olesea Stamati immediately launched the process to form a commission to evaluate Stoianoglo's activities, there was no doubt that the authorities would bring the "prosecutor's case" to a logical end. Most likely, the General Prosecutor's Office will be headed by our "Moldovan Laura Kovesi". The Transdniestrian dimension is also very turbulent. Attempts to establish more or less balanced relations with the left bank failed at the very start. The summer curtsies and conciliatory messages from Tiraspol to Maia Sandu and the eager-to-govern Action and Solidarity party, the absence of confrontation between Chisinau and Tiraspol in recent months resulted in an unexpected ban for the Transdniestrian transport to move to the neighboring Ukraine. Such developments have already caused a heightened rhetoric of the region's authorities, who stated the possibility of military ways to resolve the Transdniestrian issue. According to some experts, the lack of stable and predictable relations of the current government on the Transdniestrian flank may become a source of additional negative factors that create direct threats to internal political stability and dialogue with Moscow. In the meantime, ambitious plans to "reset" relations with Russia are gradually getting back on the previous foreign policy track, restoring the familiar contours. Apparently, the efforts of some pragmatic strategists in Maia Sandu's entourage are successfully blocked by other internal groups of influence who openly sabotage the mutual courtship between Chisinau and the Kremlin. Behavior of the speaker of parliament, Igor Grosu, is a striking example of this. Earlier this month, he personally participated in the opening of a new session of the Romanian parliament, but at the same time, referring to a busy work schedule, demonstratively refused to delegate Moldovan parliamentarians to monitor the preparation and course of elections to the Russian State Duma. Looking a bit further ahead, the next wave of the pandemic may become the main challenge for the Moldovan government in the coming months. It will require the most careful and balanced decisions so as not to provoke a counter wave of dissatisfaction from the population and business. So far, the promised large deliveries of vaccines to Moldova have not arrived, and the overall level of vaccination is still quite low. Therefore, there is no certainty today as to our ability to easily go through the next upsurge in incidence. At the same time, the new Minister of Health, Ala Nemerenco, has already been in the middle of several scandals, which incurs criticism of the health system from the population  and discourages medical staff. Despite the fact that activities of the new government are provided with the most powerful media and expert support, the overall impression of the Cabinet's first month is painful. The citizens knew there was little chance for quick and breakthrough achievements, but were waiting for at least the efforts to sustain the climate of hope for a qualitative changes in everyday life, rather than an aggressive usurpation and a fierce struggle for total political domination. Admittedly, a two-year period in parliament and a short but quite sufficient government experience in 2019 was enough for the PAS members to try to grasp most of the problems of our state. However, the ruling party has started its "victorious path" with extremely careless and unprofessional antics, which will inevitably affect its political profile. Nevertheless, the country's leadership and the ruling majority still have a significant reserve of trust. The first month of work of the approved government has definitely failed, but thorough error analysis, correct conclusions and subsequent management adjustments can remedy the situation and restore the PAS party's image as a political force able to give the country hope for a better.