Opposition Is Consolidating in Advance of an Attack by the Authorities

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Vladimir ROTAR
The Bloc of Socialists and Communists demonstrates the long-overdue unification tendencies. The goal is to jointly prepare for the upcoming electoral cycles and resist the ruling party's pressure, which will skyrocket after the struggle for the General Prosecutor's Office is over.
Moldova is gradually getting used to the new internal political reality, with the leading role assigned to the Action and Solidarity Party. The strong mono-majority in the parliament, the government composed exclusively of inside representatives, as well as the “spiritual leader” and the founder of the formation as president allow PAS to tightly hold the main levers of power and feel confident on the political arena. Even despite their of regular mistakes. The actions of the new authorities certainly attract the bulk of public and media attention, while the opposition parliamentary camp mostly remains in the shadows. Moreover, the electoral bloc of communists and socialists, having taken second place in the July elections with more than thirty mandates in the republic’s main legislative body, is actually left out of the governing process. Yet, the BoCS is unquestionably the only real opposition force, even without being able to directly influence the current situation in the country. And after all, the presence of the opposition in any democratic state is the most important and integral element. Its purpose is to discipline the authorities and not allow them to indulge in the harmful misuse of authority, which, by the way, can already be observed in some PAS representatives. So far, the opposition that threatened to become a real “nightmare for the authorities” after the elections, is not showing its best. From time to time, the BoCS members, the Socialist leader Igor Dodon in particular, criticize certain actions of the authorities, accusing them of undermining relations with Russia, blocking the Transdniestrian region, or hunting the Attorney General. However, it is impossible to say that the block exerts excessive pressure, besides, all these attacks are far from systematic. Some of the defeated on July 11 political forces have already started the process of internal restructuring. For example, the Dignity and Truth Platform is undergoing a deliberate transformation, having already got rid (apparently, at the insistence of foreign curators) of its leadership, including the long-term leader Andrei Nastase. The move makes sense – a series of high-profile failures has turned the once popular and charismatic politician into more of a burden than an asset. It seems, the socialists and communists are also aware of the need for change. The former have already started strengthening their central headquarters personnel, and are planning to hold a party congress by the end of the year, where some "serious changes" are to be announced. It is quite possible to expect adjustments in the action program, taking into account the current domestic political trends and actions/miscalculations of the new Moldovan leadership. At the same time, further commitment to the principled “pro-Moldovan” ideological attitude was stated. The Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova will also undergo a certain transformation. The permanent leader of the Party, Vladimir Voronin, announced that he would no longer run for the post of its chairman. The new leader will be elected by the Party Congress, which should also be held in the near future. As we can see, the sobering elections outcome, as well as the aggressive policy of the ruling party to seize control over all key state structures, one way or another prompts the country's second largest political formation to mobilize and change its  tactics and strategy. The continued unity of the bloc created during the pre-election period can be considered a positive factor for socialists and communists, despite the situational mismatch of positions. Furthermore, this allows moving towards the next and largely a logical step, which implies merging the two parties into one powerful entity, with the "gravitational force" sufficient to attract other prominent or promising left-flank players. That the BoCS really has such thoughts was confirmed by Igor Dodon. He publicly supported the idea of uniting PSRM and PCRM, and agreed to address it seriously if the communists express their willingness. Even before the elections, we have repeatedly noted how useful and important the consolidation of forces on the left flank will be in the ongoing situation. If merged, the two parties will be able to align their opposition efforts to pressure the authorities, build up capacity on the ground and better prepare for a "revenge match" - first, in local elections scheduled for 2023. However, another motive, even more important now, is a defensive one. The socialists leader certainly understands that with no prospects for extraditing Vlad Plahotniuc and Ilan Shor to Moldova, he is the number one target for the new government. Indeed, even despite two consecutive electoral defeats, Dodon remains a fairly strong and popular political figure who can climb to the top of the Moldovan political structure against the backdrop of the ruling party's failures. Therefore, it is not surprising that PAS constantly voices almost undisguised threats against the ex-president and other prominent PSRM figures. Apparently, the authorities don't start their large-scale attack on the left flank only because they haven't taken over the General Prosecutor's Office as a key instrument, still led by the "rebellious" Alexandru Stoianoglo. His resignation, however, is just a matter of time. The necessary legislative changes have already been adopted by the parliament and signed by the president. An attempt to challenge them in the Constitutional Court was unsuccessful - the request was not even accepted for consideration. The parliament also didn’t want to listen to Alexandru Stoianoglo's accusations about the president's pressure on the Prosecutor's Office. Therefore, activities of the prosecutor general will be now considered by a specially created commission, and it is not difficult to guess what kind of inspection results will follow. The new Attorney General, appointed in coordination with the ruling party, will certainly show far more loyalty and unlike his predecessor will definitely set the wheels in motion for the Plahotniuc’s notorious black package. And it will surely not be the last one. There is no doubt that the PAS will go completely free to pursue the largest left-wing force. The Western partners of Chisinau are unlikely to regret the removal of forces that have long been labeled as "pro-Russian": after all, they didn't do it in neighboring Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky, after a short period of politeness with the opposition, amid failures in domestic and foreign policy and a sharp rating collapse (both his own and the ruling Servant of the People Party), initiated a major attack on the opposition forces. It was characterized by the termination of broadcasting of the associated media, a series of personal NSDC sanctions against certain undesirable politicians and even their further criminal prosecution (with the concurrent pressure on the judiciary). All this was happening under the tacit approval of the European Union and with the open support of the US Embassy. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that in the near future our political field will be cleansed using the Ukrainian model. Perhaps, the current uniting and mobilizing efforts in the camp of the bloc of communists and socialists will help better prepare for the imminent tough times. Although, frankly speaking, the chances for repelling the ruling party's attack with a zero loss are few.