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Post-electoral flames

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Igor Botan / August 31, 2009
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Political crisis runs the risk to go on

The results of the July 29, 2009 early elections confirmed that the Moldovan electorate generally maintains its political preferences despite factors that give birth to social and political cleavages. In this regard, one may say that after the political crisis linked to the April 7 developments and blocked election of a chief of state the Moldovan electorate actually reiterated its electoral options from the April 5 elections. Changes in electoral options were linked to the withdrawal of the former head of the Parliament, Marian Lupu, from the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) and the approximately twofold decline of the number of electoral candidates at the July 29 elections. Thus, while parties incapable to cross the electoral threshold won approximately 15 percent at the April 5 elections, they garnered just 4 percent on July 29. Of course, electoral segments have strengthened after small parties refrained from participating in elections; that means some electoral sympathies migrated within certain value segments, especially social-democratic and liberal, with the latter being covered by three parties — Liberal Party (PL), Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) and Moldova Noastra Alliance (AMN). These changes were enough to make the PCRM lose the monopoly on political authority.

In these circumstances, keeping a strained political situation and perpetuating the institutional blockage bring the possibility of early parliamentary elections in 2010. Although five political parties will be represented in the Parliament, they will make in fact two antagonistic forces with a comparable weight. The Alliance for European Integration (AIE) made by PLDM, PL, PDM and AMN reduces the ratio of forces to 53 vs. 48 mandates. In this context, a series of constitutional, legal, political and administrative problems occur:

The distorted representation of Moldovan citizens on regional, ethnic and gender criteria is so far another source of concern besides polarisation of political spectre.

Sociological picture of members of the 18th Legislature
 PCRMPLDMPLPDMAMNLawmakers (members)
of the Parliament
Overview
Number of parliamentarians481815137101
Non-party members122---14
Average age (years old)47.943.748.344.252.447.1
Number of women20122-25
Residence of parliamentarians[1]
Chisinau municipality31121213674
Centre712-111
North731--11
South12---3
Gagauzia2----2
Transnistria-----0
Occupation[2]
President of Republic of Moldova1----1
Central administration7--2-9
Former members of the precedent Parliament3613111667
Mayors-11--2
Local public administration2-2--4
SRL11-1-3
NGO22-2-6
Jobseekers1113-6
Professional education[3]
Economists12113118
Jurists12633327
Political researchers5--117
Diplomats3112-7
Engineers9123318
Agrarians41---5
Teachers733--13
Historians72-3113
Journalists---2-2
Doctors3231-9
Philologists--2--2
Theologians-1---1

Five PCRM principles vs. five AIE principles to overcome the crisis

Two weeks before the July 29 elections PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin has released at a news conference five principles capable to lead to a national post-electoral consensus:

As well, the PCRM leader stressed that his party “is ready to build a broad ruling coalition with all political parties which will accede to the Parliament, shall they accept these principles.” According to Voronin, political forces from Moldova give the following alternative, the least the PCRM would like people to realise the new realities:

PCRM maintained its positions after elections, but softened its messages against Marian Lupu. On August 8, 2009, after the elections and some consultations, PLDM, PL, PDM, AMN built the ruling coalition called Alliance for European Integration (AIE), which committed itself in front of society to fulfil the following major goals:

PCRM and AIE released ballons d’essai

On August 21, 2009, the four parliamentary political forces representing the AIE released the “initiative to open a dialogue between parliamentary parties in order to agree on solutions to build the new organs of the central administration” and invited the PCRM chairman to attend a meeting of leaders of parliamentary factions on August 25. AIE stressed that it calls for a dialogue not negotiations. This way, AIE would like to inform the public that it has arguments to persuade the PCRM that it should resign itself and cede the rule inclusively by giving the eight votes for free to the AIE candidate for the seat of chief of state, without claiming the least political-administrative reward or guarantees for a certain attitude towards PCRM and its leaders. Acting this way, AIE leaders claim in fact that they could wake up remorse among PCRM lawmakers, followed by resignation for the inheritance this party leaves to AIE after eight years of governing.

The next day, on August 22, the PCRM convoked the plenary of the Central Committee (CC) and considered the post-electoral political situation and set the tasks of the party for the near future:

This is the intransigent picture of the two political forces before the constitution sitting of the new Parliament on August 28, 2009.

PCRM and AIE enter procedural confrontations

One may affirm that the PCRM/CC plenary has set tactical tasks, which once achieved would give room for an eventual strategic victory. The plenary also aimed to maintain the moral of the party after the results of the recent parliamentary elections were much worse than expected. It discussed “psycho-therapeutic” measures should any communist parliamentarians go out of control during the secret election of chief of state. The second task of the plenary was to raise a disdaining attitude towards AIE and decide not to discuss with this alliance like it would not exist as a distinct functional entity. The third task was to take over the initiative in the design of the new administration as political force, claiming to be the strongest and best to become a centre of coagulation of the new governance, on the basis of a centre-left coalition. If the three tactical tasks are fulfilled, the PCRM will keep the unity of the party and faction on one hand and will split the AIE on the other hand. In consequence, the PCRM would be closer to the strategic victory — keeping the rule as the most influent political force.

PCRM is taking actions through procedural games, seizing the opportunity that the constitution sitting of the new Parliament was chaired by the eldest parliamentarian who is a PCRM member. As expected, the first sitting of the Parliament, ended with a procedural scandal. PCRM and AIE proved their antagonism. The PCRM game on reflexes of AIE proved that the first calculates better. The least, the procedures of making the leading organs of the Parliament would have developed faster, if AIE met the provisions of the Regulation invoked by PCRM to make the parliamentary factions. AIE invoked the emergent need to make the leading organs and finally got a reverse effect — the organisational procedures were postponed for at least one week because the PCRM decided to appeal to the Constitutional Court, contesting the election of PL leader Mihai Ghimpu as speaker of the Parliament before the official formation of the parliamentary faction of PCRM. This example shows that the heroic approach proved by AIE in procedural confrontations with PCRM undermines its strategic prospects, which should be rather based on reasonable approaches.

At the same time, PCRM does not fail any occasion to show that AIE is late to introduce the design of the new structure of central administration and distribute competences to AIE components, as it has promised before the first constitution sitting of the Parliament. Thus, the success of PCRM depends of the conduct and reactions of the four AIE components. So far, AIE succeeds to avoid giving major occasions for talks on eventual internal splitting, but the dynamism of the new government and takeover of the authority are jeopardised. Secondly, all actions and statements of PCRM seem to mean their eventual invocation in case of early parliamentary elections next year. This way, PCRM uses the election of Mihai Ghimpu as speaker of the Parliament to resuscitate some social phobias based on older cliches. In this situation, AIE has no choice but to turn to justifying messages.

Given the works of the PCRM plenary, AIE reactions and first events after the constitution sitting of the Parliament, one may say that parliamentary elections are very probable, 50/50. Of course, PCRM will fight to clamber the governing somehow, in order to get access to certain administrative levers, the least to compromise AIE. In this situation, after the AIE was built, the most important factor against PCRM actions would be to keep the AIE unity. In order to avoid internal conflicts while sharing posts, AIE components could try to focus on wider goals. In this respect:

Finally, voting a non-partisan president and giving up the heroic behaviour aimed to defeat the opponent at all costs in the least problems and choosing a reasonable conduct would be the only reasonable compromise between AIE and PCRM.

  1. Under Law # 438-XVI from 28.12.2006 concerning the regional development in the Republic of Moldova, the country is divided into six regions: North, Centre, South, Chisinau municipality, ATU Gagauzia and Transnistria.
  2. Some candidates did not declare any occupation, others indicated several occupations, and there are incompatibilities in certain cases.
  3. Some parliamentarians indicated several professions.
On the eve of early elections BPO suggests that… Neither like Deng Xiaoping, nor like Charles de Gaulle — the battle goes on!