On October 13 Premier Vlad Filat presented a report to the Parliament regarding “the assaults on share houses of many banks” in Moldova. According to the report, “the raider assault” on the banking system was combated due to prompt actions of the Government, assisted by administrations of banks, shareholders, and representatives of some international institutions. In contrast, according to the report, a number of state institutions manifested either non-professionalism or complicity with assaulters. In consequence, the premier demanded the resignation of Prosecutor-General Valeriu Zubco; Gheorghe Mihai, head of the Information and Security Service (SIS); and Mihail Cibotaru, head of the National Commission of Financial Market (CNPF). The premier insisted on withdrawal of state institutions from “algorithmic political influence and their rendering to citizens,” so that to increase requirements and prevent in future phenomena like that reported.
The last remark is the key of understanding of recent political developments in Moldova, invoking the fact that the algorithmic distribution of leading offices in state institutions was the key condition to build the Alliance for European Integration (AIE). After presenting the report concerned, the premier admitted that the algorithmic distribution was a fatal mistake, which subordinated state institutions to group interests and turned them into “levers” to meet these interests. The Parliament made a decision based on premier’s report, which assesses the unsatisfactory activity of the three institutions concerned; seeks the dismissal of the SIS director; instructs the head of the Parliament to fill up the procedure of dismissal of the Prosecutor-General and CNPF head within one week; instructs the premier to report reshuffles in his cabinet within two weeks.
The decision concerned was adopted by 69 deputies representing the factions of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) led by Premier Vlad Filat, and the opposition Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM). The other two factions representing the AIE, the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) and the Liberal Party (PL), turned down the appeal of the prime minister and the parliamentary decision. PL and PDM leaders said that the AIE was actually destroyed and a new alliance was built between PLDM and PCRM, the so-called alliance of “watermelon” which was forecasted long ago. Really, the premier’s appeal was expected since July and became very probable in August, when the report on “raider assault” on banking system was released, an assault which took place two weeks after the premier has addressed citizens and signalled the danger of “mafiotisation” of the Republic of Moldova. According to the premier, the “raider assault” was a proof for his warnings regarding dangers faced by Moldova. Even more, this assault would not have taken place without the criminal involvement of some high-ranking functionaries and reports from insiders.
In fact, the truth about the “raider assault” shall be proved, but the premier says that this would be possible just after the dismissal of the dignitaries mentioned above. In consequence, the entire story about the “raider assault” is based on premier’s statements, as well as on a judgment by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) to reinstate the property rights of six European investors from Slovenia and Netherlands on 27.5 percent of shares in Moldova Agroindbank. Indeed, the CSJ decision is the only credible document which attests that the “raider assault” really took place, but it does not identify the assaulters behind offshore firms. As for the rest, premier’s statements that he allegedly knows who is behind the assault, as well as his allusions which are more than transparent and indicates nobody else but popular “jigger” Vlad Plahotniuc, are nothing but part of the public conflict woken between Premier Vlad Filat and first Deputy Speaker Vlad Plahotniuc last February, less than two weeks after the AIE-2 was built.
According to the premier, things inside of AIE-2 were wrongly planned since the establishment of this alliance. Filat indicates the following rounds of the conflict inside of AIE, which led to the current condition:
The rounds of AIE collapse must be invoked in order to understand that the situation has degraded so much that the ambitious reform programme of the Government cannot be implemented anymore. Actions of AIE components both cannot make a synergetic effect and target against alliance members. Thus, the promotion of the justice reform was withdrawn from auspices of the Ministry of Justice, which was algorithmically given for rule to PLDM, being transferred to auspices of interim President Marian Lupu, and this fact raised suspicions of PLDM that the reform will turn into a smoke screen to strengthen the control of the “jigger” on justice. On the other hand, interim President Marian Lupu publicly disregards premier’s efforts to encourage a dialogue with Transnistrian leaders with the purpose to make them accept official negotiations. As for PL, its actions focussed almost exclusively on modification of Constitution by using a “sleeve joker,” as well as on exclusive competences for Chisinau mayor, its deputy chairman.
The common voting on October 13, 2011 by PCRM and PLDM followed different purposes. PLDM focuses for the time being to weaken the positions of the “jigger” and strengthen its own stances, invoking the need of “rendering state institutions to citizens.” Statements of Premier Vlad Filat aim to blame the “jigger” for all troubles of Moldova. The invocation of the need of providing evidence is reduced to the response that one cannot get authentic evidence from law enforcement institutions controlled by the “jigger”. In consequence, citizens have to believe or not the premier. Thus, the entire political battle would develop in the “public relations” (PR) field. So far, Premier Vlad Filat and his party are winners of this race, as surveys rate the PLDM as the party enjoying the highest confidence of people. On the other hand, PDM and PL hold diverse means to compete in the PR field. In addition, the intrigue of this battle may be maintained by eventual expectations that the Prosecutor-General’s Office could provide surprises related to eventual cases involving persons from premier’s entourage. Anyway, the last argument of PLDM would be related to the broader field of manoeuvre — the possibility of cooperation with PCRM, which is less accessible to PDM and inaccessible to PL.
Although it joined tactical games with PLDM, the strategic goal of PCRM is to regain the rule. PCRM cannot be loser of this game. If AIE partners of PLDM cede to premier’s pressures and accept to reset the alliance, the PCRM would be at least happy to take revenge against “traitors” who retreated into PDM, and this fact is very important to preserve the unity of PCRM which runs the risk to break up. In addition, an eventual reset AIE would have to take the test of presidential elections, which would need the participation of PCRM. Thus, the PCRM would not lose control on developments. On the contrary, an open coalition with PLDM would be harmful, as long as PCRM did not decide yet what to do: to provoke early parliamentary elections or to rule the country as part of a new coalition.
The denouement of situation could develop in a couple of weeks. Under the October 13 Parliament Decision, it should be clear in one week if the PDM and PL agree to reset the AIE. It will be clear after two weeks what the goal of the premier’s announced governmental reshuffle is. Finally, it will be clear after one month if the chief of state will be elected or the country will have to hold early parliamentary elections.
If PDM and PL do not warm Filat’s initiatives to reset the AIE, PLDM would likely make a coalition with PCRM. PDM leader Marian Lupu has noted that in his quality of speaker of the Parliament he will not meet the recommendation from the October 13 Parliament Decision to start dismissing the Prosecutor-General. That means that the PLDM will have to call on services of PCRM, in order to dismiss the speaker of the Parliament in line with Article 64 of Constitution: the chief of the Parliament “may be revoked at any moment through a secret vote by the Parliament with a minimum majority of 2/3 votes of all MPs.”
If such a situation occurs, that would be the “moment of the truth.” First, the myth of the all-powerful “jigger” would be tested. Sixty-eight votes would be needed to eventually dismiss the speaker of the Parliament. PLDM and PCRM have 73 votes together and the intrigue would be reduced to the capacity to “influence” only six ballots during the secret voting. Second, the eventual failure of the attempt to dismiss the speaker of the Parliament would undermine the positions of PLDM and PCRM, producing discussions about eventual scissions of these parties.
On the other hand, the eventual dismissal of the Parliament speaker would also prove the capacity of an eventual PLDM-PCRM coalition to elect the chief of state. Thus, in order to attenuate accusations of “betrayal”, PLDM would have to propose one more time the resetting of AIE by allowing PDM and PL partners to nominate a candidate for the seat of Parliament speaker.
The strong opposition of PDM and PL against PLDM initiatives to reset AIE would push premier’s party to an undeclared coalition with PCRM, of course with the purpose to overcome the political crisis. The PCRM would have to make a decision: either to provoke early parliamentary elections or to formalise the coalition of “watermelon” on the basis of a new Government with a new governance programme. The PCRM would unlikely accept a long-term coalition with PLDM under auspices of the effective action programme of the Government “European Integration: FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, WELFARE.”