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Sergiu CEBAN
Contradictions and squabbles in the ruling party are destabilizing the whole government structure that has been in the making since the middle of last year. To prevent its complete collapse, especially in favor of the leftist forces, a soft reset of power may be required – by eliminating certain groups of influence in the PAS or even by holding another early election 
Last week saw internal turmoil in the ruling party. Two new ministers, of Economy and Ecology, took office. The president gave a not very standard speech to the new appointees, which, in addition to general good wishes, contained obvious dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in specific spheres. Thus the head of the state made it clear publicly that she is not going to continue to cover up the obvious failures of her former party comrades-in-arms. It seems that Maia Sandu finds it more and more difficult to hold back her irritation with the disgusting situation in the country while hiding internal contradictions within PAS complicating the process of making fundamental political decisions. Moreover, the tense atmosphere in the party hampers a long-overdue rearrangement of personnel in the state apparatus. The lack of political flexibility undoubtedly works not only against the party itself, but also against Moldova’s foreign policy interests. Fresh sociological findings clearly indicate that current geopolitical and security issues are not of great concern to our society and have steadily given way to more urgent problems: the rise in energy and food prices. In addition, for all the ambiguity of the current street protests organized by the SOR party, most citizens consider them quite justified, as well as the possible resignation of the government. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep Natalia Gavrilita’s cabinet afloat with each passing month, especially when the PAS has no alternative professional team with a clear agenda. The authorities’ caution is probably caused by the desire to preserve at least a semblance of the PAS monolithic structure. Because in the event of a voluntaristic decision, there is a significant risk not only that some deputies will refuse to follow the general course and vote for specific candidates, but also that the faction will disintegrate into separate parliamentary groups. This will inevitably lead to the resignation of the government and a transition to a coalition format of coexistence of former one-party members. It cannot be ruled out that the stubbornness and uncompromising nature of some PAS leaders forced their Western coordinating partners to resort to unconventional actions and “soften” the intraparty configuration somewhat by means of controlled leaks of private messages. Meanwhile, one can only guess at the real reasons behind the intransigent behavior of certain party tops. Most likely it is not about attachment to jobs and positions, but just about access to more money from Western aid, so certain groups in the PAS have found nothing better to do than resort to political blackmail of associates. Given the speed with which the compromising messages were posted, it will probably be clear by December exactly what the authors of these attacks wanted to achieve. Preliminarily it is possible to speak about the intention to strongly weaken or split one of the big groups inside the PAS, which is connected with justice, where things are very bad, and the clans of judges and prosecutors, which have been lurking for some time, are trying to counter-strike. The desire of former Plahotniuc’s Prosecutor General Eduard Harunjen to be reinstated in his position is a vivid proof of this. Most likely, at this stage we will observe a moderate scenario, aimed mainly at preserving the current power structure with minor changes. However, if we fail to “tame” the ambitions of certain groups of inner-party backstage, the country can expect an electoral reset. Preparations for this are already underway, with the 2023 local elections being a major factor. According to a recent opinion poll, more than half of the population supports early parliamentary elections. This is the unenviable result of the PAS after only a year and a half since the last special election of the country’s main legislative body. If the situation doesn’t change fundamentally in the next few months, under street pressure and a series of economic and political upheavals, nothing else remains but to “flush” social discontent down the ballot box – that is, to hold early parliamentary elections together with local ones. However, the government’s political advisors and Western analysts, hidden from the public eye, already understand that further delaying the government’s reset is fatal not only for pro-European forces in Moldova but also for the country’s foreign policy. Be it a left-wing or any other oligarchic revenge, it would put an end to the country’s European prospects, and therefore to further financial injections and reforms, sending the republic backward by decades. Therefore, if in the last early parliamentary elections, the West put almost everything in the PAS basket, now for a few weeks we see the accelerated (re)creation of projects with politicians from the ACUM Bloc. Such actions are aimed at reaching out as much as possible to the disenchanted electorate, disillusioned with PAS policies and having no equivalent party alternative. Among the main contenders for the title of the ruling party’s main opponent is the Unity and Well-Being Committee. However, one should not write off Maia Sandu’s former main associate, and now her active opponent, Andrei Nastase, who has begun to create the Civil Movement of the People’s Resistance. The situation on the left flank is no less dynamic, primarily because of the rapidly growing rating of the SOR party, which deprives the main favorites, the Socialists and the Communists, of their electoral prospects. Therefore, to neutralize such a dangerous and unpredictable political player, the authorities and those who moderate Moldovan politics, sitting in other capitals, are trying not only to ban SOR through the Constitutional Court, but also to offer the voters alternative leftist forces, united in the Common Agenda discussion club. Thus, it seems that our country is not only entering a difficult winter period with forecasts about the situation in the energy sector far from optimistic, but also begins to actively prepare for new electoral cycles, which may well pass “in a fast-track manner”.