Chance of reformation. Will relations between Chisinau and Comrat change after November 30?

IPN Analysis. An increasing number of disagreements appeared recently between the Moldovan and Gagauz authorities. After the launch of the election campaign, these conflicts seem to have intensified. Is there a chance for the relations with Comrat to be restored after the elections?
Critical minimum

Throughout the existence of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, its relations with the central authorities were seldom good. There has always been a set of matters of principle for both of the sides and an agreement for solving them was mutually excluded. But these problems were ideological and political in character and, in virtue of the impossibility of solving them ‘here and now’, they were often regarded as secondary and allowed developing the cooperation in dealing with the topical items from the agenda.

After the authorities of Gagauzia held a local referendum on the country’s external development course, despite the position of Chisinau, an evident rupture appeared in the bilateral relations with the autonomous region and the political disagreements gradually took the front row. When the results of the plebiscite started to be used to reject the thesis concerning the lack of an alternative to Moldova’s integration into the EU, it became clear that Gagauzia, as an administrative unit, started a long-lasting political conflict with the country’s administration. With the start of the election campaign, which contributed to the deepening of the disputes, the relations between Comrat and Chisinau worsened down to a critical level. It should be noted that when the Ukrainian intelligence services banned the Governor (Bashkan) of Gagauzia Mihail Formuzal from entering Ukraine, the Cabinet of Moldova, of which the Gagauz leader forms part, didn’t show solidarity with their colleague and didn’t intervene for him. However, neither Formuzal showed solidarity with his colleagues from the Cabinet on different occasions.

All these conflicts can lead to a large-scale political crisis and even to administrative disorganization of the state. That’s why the existing disagreements will have to be dealt with sooner or later. In Gagauzia, this will be the task of other persons already. Immediately after the parliamentary elections, a campaign for electing a new Governor will start there. The negotiations will involve the region’s group of representatives in Parliament that, judging by appearances, could be renewed substantially after November 30.

‘Gagauz choir’

The Party of Communists traditionally secures the presence of several representatives of Gagauzia in Parliament. However, this time the party’s list of candidates for MP includes only one candidate on a place that ensures the presence in Parliament. This is the MP of the last three legislatures Irina Vlah, who is the eighth. Another representative of the southern region, MP Oleg Garizan, takes the 60th position.

The Democratic Party (PDM) offered more favorable positions to the representatives of Gagauzia. The mayor of Comrat and the leader of the PDM in Gagauzia Nikolai Dudoglo is the tenth. His comrade, the deputy head of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia Demian Karaseni takes the 18th position. If the PDM becomes a component of the government coalition and a part of the first ten candidates occupy posts of ministers, Karaseni has chances to become the second representative of Gagauzia who will enter Parliament on the Democratic ticket.

The Liberal Democrats offered more modest places to their representatives from Gagauzia. The only candidate for the seat of MP who can enter Parliament is Petru Vlah, who takes the 36th position on the list. In the 2010 elections, he was the 42nd on the list.

The Party of Socialists allotted the best place to their Gagauz representative on the list. The head of the public movement “United Gagauzia” Fiodor Gagauz is the sixth on this party’s list of candidates.

One more resident of Gagauzia has chances to enter Parliament owing to his participation in the political project of Renato Usatyi. Eduard Zlatovcen, who is known in Gagauzia as an activist of the local branch of the Party of Communists, is the 16th on the list of the Party “Patria”.

Thus, four to six political activists from Gagauzia could enter Parliament after the November 30 elections and the voice of the autonomous unit may sound as a ‘choir’ in the legalities body. But if this ‘choir’ will be as efficient as noisy is another question.

New persons – new solutions

Judging by the political biographies and statements of the possible MPs from Gagauzia, these politicians, with small exceptions, are supporters of a set of ideological beliefs that are classical for the autonomous unit: for Russia and against the European integration. From this viewpoint, their work as members of Moldova’s Parliament does not inspire hope that the relations with Comrat will be depoliticized.

On the other hand, the rhetoric of the Gagauz representatives of the same PDM (who actively supported the famous referendum of February 2) can be explained by the necessity of meeting the expectations of the local voters. But such a necessity will disappear when they are elected to Parliament. Becoming MPs, they can renounce the unconvincing ‘double course’ and, as their colleagues from the Liberal Democratic Party, can accept the principles of the party’s general course. As regards the other possible lawmakers, these will most probably remain promoters of the Gagauz conception concerning the internal and external policy of Moldova. This means that the Gagauz MPs could hardly be regarded as a united group that can take a common position on different matters of principle.

In fact, the ideological orientation of the future government coalition will slightly influence the bilateral relation between Chisinau and Comrat. It’s enough to remember the epoch of the unlimited government of the Party of Communists, which is memorable owing to the conflict with the Bashkan Dmitry Croitor, who had to renounce his post before time.

Looking at the possible MPs from Gagauzia, it’s hard to believe that they will be able to resolve the main conflicts existing in the bilateral relations so that both of the sides remain satisfied. The only hope derives from the fact that the political elites in Chisinau and Comrat will be renewed practically simultaneously. There are chances that the Moldovan-Gagauz relations will be represented by new figures in several months. Though the given persons have particular experience of political activity, in the new posts they will not bear responsibility for the confrontation between their predecessors. This means that it will be easier for them to adopt new decisions as they will not know the beaten path of conflicts.

Veaceslav Craciun, IPN

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