Legal Chaos of Maia Sandu’s Regime

Home / Analytics / Legal Chaos of Maia Sandu’s Regime
Anton ŠVEC
The parliament’s website yesterday published a draft of amendments to the Constitution, which the authorities plan to promote at a dubious referendum for European integration. The inadequacy of the wording and the procedure itself call in question further legalization of Moldova’s political course
Legal nihilism and the primacy of the authorities’ political goals over objective public needs and the opinion of the population majority became the key feature of the PAS regime. Moving along the path of European integration without regard to the changing external context and the current tasks of state building and reform is seen by Maia Sandu as the only criterion of her legitimacy and the way for the entire power structure to survive. Carriages are gradually detached from this “train”, but this situation does not bother or concern the “operators”, as long as there is support from Washington, Brussels and Bucharest. The ruling regime loses its numerous representatives and even whole regions on the road, but it does not notice the crisis tendencies on the way to the declared goal, which must be achieved for the current policy to make sense. Chisinau does not care about the discontent of Gagauzia, which has recently started talking about independence again, and Transnistria, where the issue of sovereignty and international recognition is constantly discussed. Maia Sandu has repeatedly stated that Moldova is ready to join the European Union without the left bank of the Dniester, and the localities on the right bank that do not share the government’s goals may be deprived of access to European funds. The fact that some of the PAS supporters are scandalously leaving it is not considered a real problem on the eve of the decisive autumn. Although only last week the director of the Customs Service, Igor Talmazan, submitted his resignation, and PAS deputy Victoria Cazacu was asked by the chairman of the parliament, Igor Grosu, who expelled her from the party, to resign because of her daughter’s alleged involvement in corruption schemes at the Chisinau airport. All these political turmoil does not affect the president’s main course. She seeks to retain power at any cost by making the idea of European integration the centerpiece of her electoral campaign and the course of EU accession “irreversible”. By the way, the idea of “irreversible European integration” was first introduced into the Moldovan political lexicon during the reign of Vladimir Plahotniuc, namely by then Prime Minister Pavel Filip. However, the regime does not disdain adopting the practices of the “captured state” if they align with the “party line”. This is confirmed by a chain of collusions at the local level between PAS district councilors and members of the European Social Democratic Party, which consists entirely of former democrats and is allegedly still controlled by Plahotniuc. What Maia Sandu has “invented” is that the old idea of the irreversible pro-European course is now to be introduced into the constitution. By the way, the tool itself is not new either. Under the puppeteer, a consultative referendum on amending the constitution was held for the sake of political expediency. The constitutional court also interpreted the main legal document of the country on the issue of the state language in the same way. It is funny that this litigation was brought to its logical conclusion many years later, and just under the rule of Maia Sandu, which seriously pleased the Romanian partners, inspiring Romanian premier Marcel Ciolacu to make a high-profile speech in favor of the so-called “unirea”. In any case, the regime is currently planning to amend the constitution (the preamble and the text of the document itself) through a referendum. As for the first one, the draft proposes to reflect “the European identity of the Moldovan people” and to declare “integration into the European Union as a strategic goal”. Maia Sandu intends to supplement the constitution itself with Article 140, which stipulates that Moldova’s accession to the EU founding treaties and the acts revising them shall be established by the parliament by an organic law. As a result, EU law will take precedence over contrary provisions of national legislation. That is, through a procedurally dubious plebiscite held simultaneously with the presidential election, the parliament (read – the current PAS majority) will receive full carte blanche to fulfil the obligations set by Brussels, without the need for further consultations with the political forces and the country’s population. Any arbitrariness with this configuration will be blamed on the fact that it was previously supported by the voters in a referendum. The parliament says that the draft may be amended in the light of public recommendations, but a significant majority of pro-government experts funded by Western grants have already favored the amendments. Thus, the content of a possible treaty on Moldova’s membership in the European Union will no longer be an issue of public political discussion being left solely at the mercy of the government-appointed negotiators, primarily the European Integration Office. And no one plans to ask the Moldovan population again whether they are satisfied with the provisions agreed upon by Brussels and the current regime, if they are ever published in advance. Some opinion polls, already banned by the current government, suggest that the outcome of the referendum vote is not predetermined. This is largely why the authorities formulate the amendments in a very specific way, without directly raising the question of whether European integration as a concept is acceptable, thus confusing the voter. It is obvious that people who do not support the current regime and do not understand its attempts at legal equilibrium will simply miss the ballot. And those who do go to the polls (or vote by mail in the United States and Canada) will mostly consist of an active minority of the current government’s supporters, loyal to any initiatives. In fact, it concerns an attempt to usurp power and impose the regime’s goals on the entire Moldovan society. Whether the voters and the nation as a whole, who are constitutionally the sole bearers of sovereignty, will be ready to tolerate the PAS arbitrariness, time and the anti-rating polls will tell.