Opinion: “PAS Should Be Given a Red Card in Local Elections”

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The ruling party’s humiliating defeat in the upcoming elections may become a significant signal to both the party and its Western curators, prompting at least a slight adjustment to the current policy, which is leading Moldova to disaster
Semyon ALBU, RTA: This Sunday, many of us will head to the polls to flood municipal governments with fresh and not really fresh faces. Local elections, in terms of importance and gloss, lag quite far behind the presidential and parliamentary ones, where, as believed, the country’s fate for the next few years is determined. Meanwhile, this time there is clearly a greater interest in them, and it is easy to explain. After all, people enjoy hihg-profile stories, and the unfolding confrontation between the ruling elite and the renegade oligarch Ilan Sor could well be one of them. To be honest, I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but they are taking turns poking and tripping up each other so that it feels as if we are watching some kind of staged performance. But if we don’t get conspiracy theories going and take it as an axiom that the crystal pro-European PAS would never cooperate with a “convicted criminal and Kremlin agent”, then the disposition is as follows. On the one hand, there is Sor with his usual megapopulism. After the Sor Party had been banned, he transformed it into several political projects whose representatives are now struggling the electoral race, being favorites in a number of key regions and cities. The ex-mayor of Orhei acts according to a primitive but working scheme of “bread and circus”. So, while in Gagauzia, now his new fiefdom, the construction of another “Orheiland” has started, all kinds of benefits are pouring on the heads of the “recipient” population: pension increases, cheap gas, subsidies to local budgets. But immediately the wicked ruling party appears on the stage and promises to take it all away and divide it. These statements come from the head of state herself, although it is not clear why she would personally comment on the actions of such a toxic politician as Sor. Unless one tries to find the hidden meaning again. Sor’s activity is undoubtedly a pre-election stunt, and observers understand this very well. Nevertheless, it is difficult to assess them solely in a negative light. After all, our people are really returning from the war zone, while the authorities have not stirred a finger for this, the amusement park will surely become the autonomy’s hallmark, while any social bonuses amid the growing poverty will come in handy. In my opinion, it doesn’t even matter where the money comes from, be it from the Russian Federation or Sor’s pockets. Let people decide for themselves whether all this is worth their vote in the elections. The odious PAS is in the other corner of the ring. Despite its pro-European reputation, it doesn’t hesitate to use such primitive moves as pre-election handouts. It is hard to interpret the sudden salary increases and lump-sum payments to public sector employees otherwise, although recently there was allegedly not enough money even to index pensions. Again, it is good when money flows not into the pockets of power corruptors but to the people. But it’s one thing when such “initiatives” come from a private individual like Sor, and another thing when they come from the state. Anyway, the handouts came out a bit scanty, while policies have toughened more than ever. The “yellows” activity is unprecedented for Moldova’s history, our country has never faced such repressions against any dissent. Judge for yourself. A month before the voting, bypassing the Constitutional Court’s decision, the electoral legislation was changed through the rubber-stamp Commission for Emergency Situations: dozens of people were excluded from the elections. Municipalities are being poached by the crudest methods, such as threats to cut off European funding or hints of criminal prosecution. The detention of prominent opposition candidates or their disqualification from the race continues. Media outlets that are not praising PAS 24/7 are blocked en masse. The regime crossed absolutely all boundaries and every conceivable red line. Coupled with enormous corruption (otherwise, where do all those billions of aids go?) and a failed socio-economic and a one-track foreign policy, it is no exaggeration to say that today the very existence of Moldovan statehood is under threat. And this is a real emergency situation, which requires extraordinary measures. The opposition is so far powerless to counter the authorities, believing that in the conditions of full Western support PAS is invincible. Therefore, all calls to unite end in nothing, and each of the opposition forces seems to be more concerned with separately negotiating the immunity for favors with the ruling party. Let’s see if there will be any different result after the new comment of ex-Prime Minister Ion Chicu, who seems to be an ardent critic of the government. However, we, citizens, can and must also have our say. Of course, I am not going to tell you how and for whom to vote - you know that very well without me. Yet, I will offer you some food for thought. It is already obvious that the current government is politically bankrupt, with its real popularity plummeting. This forces the regime to tighten the screws further and further, moving up the “ladder of totalitarianism”, where each step means one more withdrawn candidate, one more violation of the Constitution and laws, one more closed media. When the authorities make a move without prompting another protest or a shout from Western embassies, they are sure to make the next one. It is already clear that only the West can influence the ruling elite – it has all the trump cards at its disposal. But so far, we see that development partners are only silent witnesses of the ongoing lawlessness. And silence in this case equals complicity. However, if PAS loses in Sunday’s elections, preferably as humiliating as possible, it may at least briefly wake the partners up, show that situation in “European Moldova” is not as rosy as it is stated at all Western forums and international meetings. Such an “electoral earthquake” will give the necessary outcry, which will signal to the Western supervisors that the current policy of Sandu and PAS leads nowhere and, more importantly, threatens the country’s European course. And this will surely have its consequences even for the “favorite nestlings of the West”. Therefore, in the upcoming elections, it is more important than ever to collectively show a red card to this regime, especially since it deserves it more than anyone else in the country’s modern history.