The Party of Socialists and Hopes for the the Kozak Alliance to Revive

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Sergiu CEBAN
Many signs show that the Socialists are more about to play along with the incumbent government rather than actually oppose it. Re-establishing the PAS-PSRM alliance in a new version might be a profitable venture for both parties, as joint voting at the local level proves
The main political players continue to come up with curious combinations in the run-up to the autumn presidential race, although most of them are primarily focused on the parliamentary elections in 2025. Particular attention is drawn to the activities of the capital’s mayor and MAN leader Ion Ceban, who has been meeting with representatives of various party associations for the second week in a row. This time he met with the chair of the European Social Democratic Party (PSDE), Ion Sula. Most likely, as experts expected, the near future will see the merger of the two parties under the aegis of Bucharest. The ruling PAS is also trying to involve the extra-parliamentary camp, but it is not ready to give up its status as the main pro-European force in the state. The ideologists of the ruling party have apparently not realized which trend is prevailing now and, to all appearances, are relying on another convincing success in the two upcoming election cycles. Although the Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on the possibility of holding simultaneous elections and a referendum on accession to the European Union, last week Maia Sandu invited almost all political formations to discuss her initiative. Fourteen party leaders participated in the consultations, except for PSRM Executive Secretary Igor Dodon and the head of the Consolidation and Development Party, Ion Chicu, who were invited but eventually declined to come. Of course, among those who attended the audience with the head of state there were no representatives who would openly oppose the idea of plebiscite. However, most of the guests understood perfectly well that it is just a lifebelt to handle Sandu’s plummeting approval rating, and consultations with the president are nothing more than a way to legitimize a decision already made by her electoral headquarters. Therefore, many participants of the meeting just proposed different dates for the presidential elections and the referendum. It seems that all this fuss with endless consultations on the referendum, with various political forces, then social groups, labor collectives and the population as a whole simply serves to disguise Sandu’s election campaign. By campaigning exclusively in favor of the European integration referendum, without adressing other topical issues, the ruling party tries to firmly implant one simple idea in the minds of citizens – if you favor the referendum, then vote for Sandu!” The president’s main argument for holding the presidential election and referendum on the same day is the risk of reduced turnout and failure of the referendum, which would be a very painful blow in the current geopolitical context. However, by mentioning such reasons, Sandu, in fact, only confirms the fragility and dubiousness of her plan. It turns out that, according to the president’s sociologists, 50% of Moldovan society does not support the current foreign policy course, and people need additional incentives to come to the polling stations and vote “for Europe”. There is no doubt that the presidency is also considering the option of involving additional electoral groups supporting other political movements. Unlike all those who came to Sandu at her first call, the Socialist Party knows how to bargain and is aware that support for a pro-European referendum from the left flank is much more expensive. Potentially, the PSRM’s call to its voters to cast a ballot at the referendum will ensure the needed turnout and the effect of the presence of the entire political spectrum and the general public, giving it the rightful status of a national referendum. So far, former president and leader of the largest opposition party Igor Dodon has urged citizens to boycott the referendum on EU accession. He calls it an attempt to mislead fellow citizens so that they forget about the problems created by Maia Sandu and the so-called “good people” from PAS. In his opinion, Sandu’s participation in the political event will ensure a high turnout, which will “grant” the incumbent head of state any result she wants. By doing so, Dodon is simply inflating his own worth. Examples of how he is able to change his “principled” positions have long since become a byword. Therefore, if there is even the slightest excuse or possibility, the PSRM leader will certainly use it. Earlier, after the local elections, the Socialists categorically rejected any cooperation and even more so the creation of coalitions with the ruling party, in order to block the party’s ability to gain any foothold at the district and city level after the electoral failure. Subsequently, however, PAS and PSRM managed to “get along” and formed authorities in several district centers. The situation in the capital’s municipal council is an additional evidence that the Socialists are ready to play along with the incumbent government rather than to stand in real opposition. After the first hints of a possible coalition between PSRM and MAN, the issue suddenly came to a standstill. At the same time, after PAS publicly announced its intention to create a coalition with the Socialists in Chisinau, the latter instantly responded and started preparing for consultations. Noteworthy that the ruling party elites are already talking about cooperation with “pro-Russian” socialists, without hesitation or political disgust. The speaker of the parliament and PAS leader Igor Grosu publicly supported the idea of a coalition with PSRM in the Chisinau municipal council, recalling the successful interaction with this party in several districts of the country. It’s quite possible that the option of a conditionally “joint” model of managing the country after the 2025 parliamentary elections is on a test drive right now. It will be much more favorable for PAS to stay in power in this way and maintain its sole status as a pro-European party with the support of a left-flank political formation. Among other things, such a coalition structure will also symbolize national unity around the mainstream idea of EU integration. Therefore, there is a growing conviction among the experts that the socialists will first help Maia Sandu to be re-elected as president, as well as to boost the turnout at the referendum. And after the parliamentary elections next year, depending on the concrete results, PSRM, one way or another, will be ready to lend PAS its hand and act as a junior partner. The main factor for the political survival of the Socialists is to be in power, even nominally, but not in opposition, which is simply disastrous for them. It is possible that unlike the Communists, who made a great contribution to the pro-European course of the country, the Socialists will go down in the political history of Moldova, cementing the way to Europe and making it irreversible.