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The impact of the Permanent Roundtable

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September 9, 2002
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Despite the too many skeptical opinions about the viability of the Permanent Round Table (PRT) it seems that its last session with the participation of the political parties of the Republic of Moldova had a wide-scale impact. This fact might determine Moldovan political elite to reconsider the benefit of this mechanism, which was recommended by the Council of Europe in order to initiate a meaningful dialogue between the opposition parties and Communist authorities after January — April political crisis.

Indeed, initially many analysts and political leaders of the country spoke negatively about the Permanent Round Table. The leader of the Christian-Democratic Peoples’ Party (CDPP), Iurie Rosca insinuated that the PRT is a finding of the Social Democratic Alliance leader, Dumitru Braghis, so as to form a political alliance in view of the upcoming elections. In this respect we should mention that among the most active supporters of the PRT, besides Social Democratic Alliance, is the Liberal Party, which in fact hosted its sessions for a long time. Other political leaders, in particular that of the Social Democratic Party and Social Liberal Party, indicated that the PRT is “an initiative with no future”. They also pointed that the debates held within its framework lack efficiency and are very much similar to the discussions during seminars dedicated to one particular issue, or to a discussion club having no impact whatsoever on political issues.

Those critical attitudes with regard to PRT are supported first of all by the fact that both Communist Party and CDPP, which is considered to be the most ardent opponent of the incumbent governing party, ignored PRT sessions. Consequently the critical attitudes are justified to a certain extent. However, as the time passed Christian-Democrats started attending the sessions, whereas Communists continued to ignore them. One may even say that after the publication of the draft agreement on the federalization of the Republic of Moldova, Christian-Democrats have assumed a leading role in the PRM and even hosted some of its session in their headquarters. This sudden change in the CDPP attitude may be explained by the fact that ruling party fulfilled a part of the PACE recommendations.

The actions recently undertaken by the CDPP point to the fact that this political party still strives to be “the major opposition party and main producer of political events” by resuming the protest rallies. Also Christian-Democrats take into account the fact that a possible decrease of the protest rallies and of the criticism against ruling party may be replaced by enlarging the number of political parties on whose behalf the criticism is made. This is the more important given the upcoming visit of the PACE raporteurs on the Republic of Moldova. From this perspective the PRT seems to be the perfect political mechanism. Communist Party also understood this and according to Dumitru Braghis attempted to “split the political parties participants to the PRT by recommending them to adopt a single position with regard to the draft agreement on federalization of the Republic of Moldova”. Although they knew that PRT consists of at least three groups sharing different views on the draft federalization of the Republic of Moldova: from its categorical rejection to its total acceptance.

Despite Communists’ estimations, the PRT didn’t broke apart after certain parties had refused to sign the Declaration on the Federalization of the Republic of Moldova. On the contrary, at the September 4 PRT session political parties passed a “Memorandum on the enforcement of the PACE Resolution”, which is to be submitted to the PACE delegation. The fact that the Memorandum was included on the agenda of the PACE delegation determined the Communist Party to send its representative to the PRT session. By doing so, the Communist Party intended to highlight its efforts to comply with the PACE Resolution, namely amending the Law on the Deputy Status so as to enlarge the opposition rights, the Parliament Regulation, the Law on Government, etc. Participants to the PRT took into consideration above said and even were indulgent to the request of the Communist representative to exclude for the Memorandum the following “stopping the Communist offence on the rule of law and fundamental human freedoms”. However, the wording of the document is harsh and insinuates that “the ruling party complied with only one of the PACE recommendations, namely registered Bessarabian Church”. As for the rest of PACE recommendations, participants to the PRT believe the ruling party only mocked their enforcement, this is especially true with regard to turning “Teleradio-Moldova” into a public institution, stopping the dissolution of local autonomy, independence of the judiciary system, moratorium on the language and history issues.

Thus, the said Memorandum may become the first document to prove the usefulness of the Permanent Round Table and determine the revision of its Regulation so as to make its activity more efficient. On the other hand, PRT is not a universal instrument for settling all the existing problems and for unifying political parties, but rather an instrument for political consultations and meaningful dialogue between opposition and ruling party. In fact this is exactly why the Permanent Round Table was initially established.

Fall political seazon The Priorities of the Moldovan Political Forces