The further it goes, the less the ruling party hesitates to use, to put it mildly, not quite democratic forms of political struggle. Moldova’s Western partners, however, continue to pretend that everything is under control
When I said that PAS would hold on to power only by lawlessness and repression, I could not have imagined that in the next few days the ruling party would illustrate my thoughts so vividly. As we can see, these tools have indeed become the main weapons of the regime, which it does not hesitate to rain down on the heads of its essentially helpless opponents in the absence of an independent justice system. Compared to what the “yellows” are doing, all of Plahotniuc’s deeds have already faded.
So, in just a couple of days, the regime:
- ignored the Constitutional Court’s decisions, although earlier, when it was convenient for him (for instance, when the Moldovan language was removed from the basic law), he considered them to be infallible truth;
- used again the amenable Emergency Commission for its own political purposes;
- in violation of all regulations and procedures, without taking into account the opinion of the Venice Commission and recommendations of the Council of Europe, without public consultations, the repressive law on amendments to the Electoral Code, which violates the Constitution and electoral rights of dozens of citizens, was passed in two readings in 24 hours and promulgated by the President (who was not present in the country at the time);
- arranged another mass search of the Revival and Chance opposition parties;
- strengthened censorship by instructing the SIS to compile a list of unwanted and blocked online resources.
That’s quite a list, isn't it? They’d rather put these efforts into something actually useful…
PAS so brazenly and enormously violates all conceivable democratic norms, citizensэ electoral rights, presumption of innocence, and so on, that even controlled institutions like the Constitutional Court or the Central Election Commission are beginning to express their discontent, unable to bear such huge deals either with conscience or with their own fear of imminent punishment in the future.
It turns out that even “own” Constitutional Court was forced to agree that without establishing guilt in court, only on the basis of suspicion, it is possible to exclude citizens from elections. That even “own” Central Election Commission could not approve this hasty “law”, which it had to implement and, therefore, bear all the responsibility. That even the loyal Promo-Lex can’t ignore the use of administrative resources by PAS members in local elections.
In addition, the ruling party has found almost one billion lei for a pre-election bribe to the population. Doctors, nurses and cultural workers will get a pay rise, while teachers and police officers will receive lump sums. “Modern European Party” has thought of nothing better than to use the methods of the most primitive post-Soviet regimes, punching another hole in the budget. No, I am sincerely happy for the people who will receive this money, but we understand that in the conditions of severe economic recession, if somewhere is full, then somewhere else will be empty. For example, in the pockets of pensioners whose pensions, in violation of the Constitution, have not been indexed to the inflation rate.
So, in just a couple of days our already weak democracy has received a couple of painful blows. Left hook is a list of over a hundred people who are banned from running as electoral candidates due to new changes in the Electoral Code. Literally with one stroke of a pen PAS removes a whole pack of undesirable politicians, clearing the field for itself. We all realize that if it works now, and everybody keeps silent (first of all, international partners), the same mechanism will be used in the next elections.
Right hook means maximizing censorship and another list, already from the SIS, of publications “sentenced to online execution”. Moreover, the decision of the EC is so broadly worded (“use in information warfare”, for instance) that it is possible to block almost any media outlet, if wanted. There is also such a tricky clause as a ban on information from people on the sanctions lists of the USA, EU and other countries for destabilizing the situation in Moldova. That is, in theory, any media outlet that posts news with a quote from Marina Tauber or even more so from Ilan Shor is automatically threatened with blocking. This is the freedom of speech in the era of “good people”!
All in all, I think, what is the purpose of being shy and organizing such expensive democratic circus, which costs the treasury hundreds of millions of lei? Why do we need, for example, a parliament-printer, stamping decisions that please the regime without any discussions and consultations? Or the Constitutional Court, whose decisions we use only when the authorities need them? Leave the Emergency Commission and let it run everything. Undemocratic? Well, what do you call what’s happening now?
And I think there is no need to be afraid of ruining your reputation in the eyes of European partners. I do not even know what should happen to make them finally pay attention to all this lawlessness. Thus, commenting on the illegal interventions in the Electoral Code, the head of the EU Delegation Janis Mazeiks only mumbled something like “not good, of course, but we understand the circumstances”.
By circumstances, of course, we mean the notorious “Russian hybrid aggression”, being the core narrative of Moldovan politics so far. At the European Political Community summit in Portugal, Maia Sandu did not fail to remind once again that “Russia is attacking the democratic (it’s funny) process in Moldova and its European path”. Well, since we are at war, it is clear that it will write off everything. Including the murder of democracy in our country.