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Gagauzia before the Elections of the Governor

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Igor Botan / February 27, 2015
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The electoral campaign for the elections of the governor is a natural occasion to discuss the problems of the people in the Gagauz autonomy. The substance and gravity of their problems are diverse. The electoral competition will lead to the identification of the candidate who offers the best and most agreeable solutions to voters. The real situation, though, is different. The irony is that the political circles in Chisinau and Comrat that are involved in the region’s elections managed to transform this electoral competition into a geopolitical competition. One of its main factors is related to the regional situation in connection with the war in Ukraine. The second factor is related to the opposition of the regional authorities of Gagauzia to the signing by the Republic of Moldova of the Association Agreement with the EU, which was exhibited by organizing the referendum on 2 February 2014, in which the majority of the region’s population pleaded for the Eurasian integration, and not European.

As a consequence, the logic of the electoral competition is limited to the identification of the candidate with the most pronounced and intransigent attachment to the Eurasian idea and to Russia as a center of attraction for the realization of this project. However, attachment to Russia is only necessary, but not sufficient, to win the elections. The second aspect is related to the expression by the powerful circles in Russia of reactions and affinity towards the candidates for the position of Governor of Gagauzia. The reverse side of this situation is that the truly urgent problems of the Gagauz region are shadowed by the geopolitical rhetoric.

In order to understand what the truly urgent problems are, it is useful to look at them through the views of some regional exponents. Thus, it is worth examining the analysis of the former governor of GagauziaRU Gheorghe Tabunshchik, who highlighted the following problems:

In the opinion of former governor Gheorghe Tabunshchic, the above problems were used to invoke the lack of sufficient powers in the official status of Gagauzia and to underline the intrigues between the republican center and the autonomy, instead of solving them properly, with the political and administrative instruments provided by the legal powers of the Gagauz autonomy. Consequently, the problems of good governance are deliberately transformed into political and even geopolitical problems. It should be mentioned that Gheorghe Tabunshchik, who had been the Governor of Gagauzia for two terms, lost the electoral competition in 2006 to current Governor Mihail Formuzal, against whom he brought grave accusations in the above-mentioned analysis.

Geopolitical elections — the end justifies the means? Real and imagined dangers in the elections in Gagauzia