Is It Really Time to “Reorganize” Moldova?

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Sergiu CEBAN
For now, the idea of the constitutional reset is publicly supported by the center-left political forces somewhat connected with Moscow. Sooner or later, the pro-European parties will also come to the idea that the existing constitutional model does not meet the tasks and priorities of the modern Moldovan state
The death of the first president prompted many people to reflect on the past, on the people who were engaged in the country’s establishment, transforming the MSSR into a fully-fledged independent republic. Undoubtedly, the generation of Soviet nomenclators, who led Moldova in a difficult historical period, had their own vision of the state building’s model, which was reflected in fundamental documents, first of all in the Constitution. The birth of the new Moldovan state is, of course, directly related to the biggest geopolitical cataclysm – the collapse of the USSR. The destruction of the former world’s architecture and the rapid course of events in the complex post-Soviet era inevitably led to serious historical and strategic mistakes made by the first generation of our politicians. These mistakes have never been eliminated, but only lightly covered with the ashes of war and left as a legacy to future generations. In less than a year, Moldova will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the current Constitution. It was adopted with difficulty and in the most challenging conditions for the country, so even after three decades, the controversy about it still persists. This can be explained by the fact that the main document has failed to ensure the full functionality of the state system and the unity of the country, as well as to resolve the most acute problems that, as before, divide and split our society. For this and other reasons, in recent years the Constitution has been subjected many times to various political executions, changes, interpretations, and adjustments to various internal/external political tasks, having lost its status of an “untouchable scripture”. This indifferent attitude towards the basic law, both on the part of people’s elected representatives and ordinary voters, only increased doubts that the current Constitution really meets modern challenges and the contemporary condition of the Moldovan state. Over the last 10 years, almost all major parties that have risen to the top of the Moldovan political Olympus have, in one way or another, tried to modify the Constitution in order to untie their hands, gain additional levers of political influence and, ultimately, extend their time at the helm of the state. The current ruling PAS is no exception, which has concentrated almost all the power in the country, but regularly stumbles over various provisions of the fundamental law, preventing Moldova from integrating into Western military-political institutions. However, as you may have noticed, with the help of simple legal moves the ruling party overcomes the impregnable walls of the Moldovan Constitution quite successfully. Moreover, according to all signs, the attempts to rewrite and adjust it to meet the changing times and geopolitical circumstances will undoubtedly continue. The most recent example is the law adopted in March, which replaces the words “Moldovan language” with “Romanian language” in the text of normative acts. Thus, the legislature decisively abandoned the vague (or compromising, as some would call it) wordings from the 90s and deliberately put an end to the long-standing language issue. In addition, the ruling party MPs continue to express a variety of ideas suggesting amendments to the Constitution, including the issue of abandoning the neutral status. It seems to indicate the intention of the PAS to continue the process of “constitutional revision”, even in those provisions that can only be amended by referendum. Alas, but for three decades our politicians have been reluctant to admit, first of all, to themselves that the conceptual, ideological, semantic and legislative provisions laid in the early 90s in the basis of the state no longer suit various groups within the Moldovan elites. There are indeed a lot of problems in the country, but they could be solved not only by periodically reshaping and patching up “holes” in the Constitution, but within the framework of a completely new basic law. Obviously, the adoption of an updated Constitution is quite difficult process. But citizens and politicians need a new social agreement and compromise, on the basis of which the further strategy of the state’s development for the next few decades will be determined. Although the idea has not yet become mainstream, it is “in the air”. Noteworthy, the Civic Congress representatives recently accused Renato Usatii of political plagiarism who came up with a variety of extravagant ideas these days, the most prominent of which was the adoption of a new main law. Indeed, earlier in 2021, the CC introduced a concept paper on the re-establishment of Moldova. But we should pay tribute to the fact that in the same year, in its program document, Usatii’s electoral bloc also described in detail the concept of re-founding the state. In fact, the project of constitutional reconstruction has been in the minds of our politicians for a long time. As known, the constitutional regime and everything that concerns the country’s Constitution closely resonate with the Transnistrian region, which has been beyond the control of the Moldovan authorities for more than 30 years. In this sense, it is worth noting that in the early 2000s, Chisinau and Tiraspol even tried to jointly write the fundamental law of the common state and thus jointly “re-found” Moldova. The process was not well organized, so nothing worked out, but the attempt was “counted” by external partners. For now, the idea of constitutional reset is publicly supported by political forces which were once somehow connected with Moscow, which, most likely, used them to relay its vision of Moldova’s reorganization framework. At the same time, sooner or later, the pro-European parties will also come to the idea (maybe they have already come but have not declared it publicly yet) that the existing constitutional model does not meet the tasks and priorities of the modern state. The current generation of Moldovan politicians, irrespective of party coloring, clearly realizes the disappointing results of the last 30 years, which clearly confirm that the state project called Moldova has not been moving along the path of development at all, but on the contrary towards political, economic, demographic, infrastructural and ecological degradation. It is obvious to everyone that this tragic state of affairs needs to be changed. Historically, Moldova as a state was formed, rebuilt, grew in territory and gained a new political breath as a result of major geopolitical shifts, arising mainly after severe world and European wars. Today we are again on the threshold of serious regional shocks and inevitable transformations, being practically in the midst of events. Therefore, we should be morally prepared that Moldova will be re-configured in accordance with the new realities.