Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

Does the ace up Ghimpu’s sleeves beat the revenge card of Communists?

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Igor Botan / January 17, 2010
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The option of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) to boycott the presidential elections in order to retaliate at eventual early parliamentary elections in 2010 has transferred the political crisis from 2009 to 2010. In this respect, the political year 2010 will be marked by the 2009 events, and the PCRM is to blame definitively for perpetuation of political crisis. In their turn, components of the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) carry all responsibility for managing the crisis provoked by PCRM conduct. Definitively, by next autumn electors will have to answer questions related to the perpetuated crisis and actions taken to overcome it. Certain things should be made clear in order to find out the eventual evolution: why did PCRM choose the boycott; the terms to conduct early elections; ways to overcome the institutional deadlock.

One vote equivalent to eight

Given the fact that it will have to explain to electors why did it choose to perpetuate the political crisis, the PCRM propaganda-making machine assures that the PCRM was right to boycott the president elections after early parliamentary elections, as AIE members had done the same after ordinary parliamentary elections. In order to justify its conduct, the PCRM claims that it needed just one vote from the liberal opposition after ordinary elections for promoting its candidate to the supreme state office, while AIE was short of eight votes. The false of the exclamation — how did the liberals dare to ask eight votes after having refused to give just one — is based on the deliberate omission of the context. PCRM needed indeed one vote from hostages:

The circumstances above could not encourage a free dialogue of the opposition leaders with the PCRM aimed to reach a compromise on election of chief of state, justifying the resistance of the liberal leaders against abuses and pressures of the authorities. One more argument for the resistance is the experience of the political deal made by the opposition with the PCRM after the 2005 parliamentary elections. This experience was enough to strengthen the belief of the liberal leaders that the only way to rescue their political careers and even their freedom was to resist. Really, the liberal opposition leaders could not accept the deal with the PCRM under pressure of own electors, as they have done so on April 4, 2005, when some of them accepted a compromise with the PCRM for reasons related to state interest and civic peace, but further lost the trust of electors and were harassed by those who enjoyed the compromise, becoming characters of fabricated criminal charges.

The PCRM lacked such arguments after the early elections while boycotting the presidential election. On the contrary, AIE proposed to PCRM to vote Marian Lupu, leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), who elected twice the PCRM candidate as chief of state after ordinary parliamentary elections. Even more, the PDM gave eight votes exactly to the PCRM leader in 2005 to be re-elected as chief of state. So, a careful calculation proves that in fact the AIE did not ask something undeserved from PCRM, but just to pay some old debts. The behaviour of PCRM leaders is explained by inertia of the habit got the last years — yielding and compromises should advantage the PCRM alone. The revengeful option is based on indignation with the courage of AIE components to build a parliamentary majority.

The PCRM has one more particularity. Its leader has publicly stated that the July 29 early parliamentary elections would be a plebiscite, which means that early elections are the kilometre zero that opens a new counting, with the sovereign people having to choose the one who was right after the tragic April 7 events. Before the people’s plebiscite all four parties which further made the AIE promised to not accept any alliance with the PCRM. Therefore, the sovereign people were aware of their vote. Since the PCRM lost what it voluntarily called as plebiscite, it should resign and pay off its debts for the political compromise from 2005, so that to unlock the election of chief of state.

Terms for early elections

After the series of mistakes in the first half of 2009 which made the PCRM lose the rule and turn into opposition, this party would have needed a break to reconsider own strategies. But no chance, as other wrong decisions with a major impact continued to show their effects. Expectations that locking the election of president would split the AIE were wrong. On the contrary, the PCRM is being divided, and this seems to be just the beginning of a succession. The calculation of PCRM regarding terms of early parliamentary elections it is awaiting for to retaliate was wrong again.

The PCRM option for seeing early parliamentary elections done as soon as possible, even in early 2010 is understandable as PCRM leaders believe that the disastrous economic-financial situation they have left to the AIE cannot be redressed soon, and therefore, people will be told that the AIE is to blame for their difficulties. This is the explanation to the arbitrary interpretation of the constitutional norm: “The Parliament can be dissolved once a year.” PCRM insists that the constitutional norm concerns the calendar year, which begins on January 1, invoking that the terms for the repeat dissolution of the Parliament should start on January 1 of every year since the financial year begins on this date. PCRM legislators appealed to the Constitutional Court to interpret this norm, as AIE has introduced an interpretative clause of the norm concerned into the law on election of chief of state, so that now the Parliament cannot be dissolved more than once in a complete year of 365 days.

The PCRM provides wrong arguments. First, invoking that the financial year begins on January 1 is inopportune, as this is a conventional, traditional phenomenon, which lasts 365 days in the virtue of periodicity. As a rule, parliaments around the world inclusively of the Republic of Moldova are not dissolved on January 1. Second, any regulation or formula must be tested to meet the limit conditions. Legal regulations must be applied regularly, so that admitting the PCRM approach as right would mean accepting the dissolution of the Parliament on December 31, 2009 and then again on January 1, 2010. On the other hand, if admitting the dissolution of the Parliament on January 1, 2010, in accordance with the PCRM logic, the next time the legislature could be dissolved would be not earlier than on January 1, 2011. These examples show that the PCRM logic is faulty, as in the first case the Parliament could be dissolved the next day and in the second case after one year. Therefore, the Constitutional Court would confirm the possibility to dissolve the acting Parliament just after a complete year since the precedent dissolution that means after June 10, 2010. Until then, the AIE government is free to prove that it is competent and that the PCRM boycott was a dangerous, revengeful action, which obstructs the country to develop and to focus efforts on improving living standards for people.

Provisions of Constitution and the ace up the sleeves to dodge them

Eventual methods used by AIE to overcome the crisis related to revanchist plans of PCRM shall be impeccable, both in terms of legal regulations and efficiency criteria. This will be the only way for AIE to be legitimate in front of electors and get support from international partners of the Republic of Moldova. Generally, there are fours ways to get rid of the institutional deadlock:

  1. The first and the most probable way is the one which features the principle — rules of game do not change while playing. It would be honest to not change anything in legislation before the end of the crisis, so that early parliamentary elections should be set in accordance with constitutional regulations for next summer or not later than on autumn 2010. This version maintains the high probability to see the crisis go on, as the society would remain divided and polarised. In consequence, the results of the early parliamentary elections in 2010 could repeat the situation when none of individual or aggregated political forces could elect a chief of state alone. Statistics for the ten years after the Constitution was modified confirm that six out of eight attempts to elect a chief of state with the votes of at least 3/5 legislators have failed. Given the quality of Moldovan political culture, not trying to change the things so that to overcome eventual impass relating to presidential election would be a foolish mistake. However, this solution would be preferable if there were credible estimates that the PCRM would not get the necessary score to boycott again.

  2. The second version would be an eventual initiative to modify Article 78 of the Constitution with the Parliament vote. The modification should be strictly related to the modality of election of chief of state, so that to prevent further boycotts. AIE should call on the PCRM support to do it. In fact, the PCRM could go ahead first as this version does not disadvantage it, and the AIE would encounter difficulties should PCRM bring this version. The modification could envisage the election of chief of state in several attempts, by successively reducing the number of votes of parliamentarians needed for this purpose, or even a through direct election of president. This modification could be operated and enforced before early parliamentary elections, should AIE and PCRM reach a consensus in this respect. The consensus would be of principle, as the modification should be normally enacted after fulfilment of all actions foreseen by the unrevised Constitution. In principle, the AIE could start modify Article 78 without the declared support of the PCRM leadership. Given the fact that the revanchist plans of PCRM have split this party, this process could go on until dissolution of the Parliament, so that the number of PCRM parliamentarians could decrease below 40 and the Constitution could be modified in principle without the consent of the party leadership. The probability that the PCRM would see its rating falling down is increasing, as party leader Vladimir Voronin is losing interest for politics, ignoring parliamentary sittings.

  3. The third version would be just a consequence of the eventual opposition of PCRM to let the Parliament modify the Constitution. In such a case, the AIE could initiate a consultative referendum on modification of Article 78 of the Constitution, which would be strictly the honouring of an electoral promise by two AIE components. The Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) and PDM promised to electors to modify the Constitution, so that the chief of state would be elected directly and the referendum would be just an action supported by electors, as surveys indicate that 70 percent of respondents call for the direct election of chief of state. The Parliament would modify the Constitution following a positive vote at the referendum. This version would be useful for AIE components to “settle political accounts” with the PCRM. The referendum would provide a great framework to convince people that the PCRM is to blame for boycotts, deadlocks, wasting of public funds for revenge, maintaining political incertitude, blocking the international financial support for Moldova, etc. In fact, such a referendum could be a prelude for early parliamentary elections, which could lock up the score of PCRM. Just one more thing — AIE shall stay strong and maintain the social-economic condition on waterline.

  4. The forth version would be using the aces up sleeve to prevent early parliamentary elections. In fact, the methods spread to implement this version — adopting a new constitution or a new version of the current Constitution — would be equally immoral and harmful if applied. The acting Parliament is fated to be dissolved under an imperative norm of the effective Constitution. Any manipulation with the aces up sleeve to avoid the dissolution of this Parliament is profoundly immoral, and those trying this way would be regarded as ready to do anything in order to keep their seats. In addition, “rescuing” a non-functional Parliament with a fragile majority would add a “mortal sin” — it will become illegitimate and these facts altogether would seriously hit the normal development of the country. The political careers of those who have aces up their sleeve may be wrecked. Definitively, using the aces up sleeve is actually impossible. Decision 57 of the Constitutional Court from November 3, 1999 says clear: The Constitutional Court considers that in quality of written and systematic endowment of supreme law in the normative legal system the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova is relatively rigid in terms that it allows the revision but just for a set technical system regarding the revision initiative (Article 141), limits of revision (Article 142) and its procedure (Article 143). The Constitutional Court engages that the modification of any norms of the Constitution dodging provisions by Articles 141, 142 and 143 of the Constitution would be in fact an implicit revision, regardless of the invoked reasons and used procedure, and this would be a violation of Constitution. The invoked rigidity would mean in practical terms that respect for all procedures and terms foreseen by the articles concerned is compulsory regardless of intentions of changing the text of the effective Constitution. Of course, interpretations could be various, but the Constitutional Court will tell the last word. From this perspective, the commission for constitutional reform set under a presidential decree on December 1, 2009 should operate quietly to fulfil its mission, avoiding any attempts to provide rapid solutions aimed to “rescue” the acting Parliament.

Political year 2009 Invalid and useless referendum