The functioning of Gagauzia is again in the center of attention of the working group consisting of Moldovan MPs and Gagauz deputies. The main task of this group is not to forget the main goals and to show capacity to solve the contradictions until the ordinary parliamentary elections.
Plans for autumn session
The working group formed of members of Moldova’s Parliament and of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia (PAG) after a pause of almost three months reanimated the interparliamentary dialogue between Chisinau and Comrat. The members of this platform met in the capital of Moldova on October 26 and set the priorities for the autumn session and the plan of action. Judging by the statements made by the MPs, both of the sides tend to achieve concrete results in the form of new initiatives aimed at efficiently developing Gagauzia.
Speaker of Parliament Andrian Candu is sure that new bills will be designed during the autumn session to include Gagauzia in the implementation of the national programs to modernize Moldova. It is most probably about the regional development program within which Gagauzia is to obtain about 10 million lei by the end of 2017 to implement three projects to develop the infrastructure and optimize the household waste processing systems.
Candu gave as example of fruitful cooperation the program of internships for employees of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia in Moldova’s Parliament. This project became possible owing to the initiative of the working group.
In the meeting, the composition and leadership of the working group were modified. Thus, MPs Vadim Pistrinciuc and Eugen Carpov became the new members of this body. But the election of Deputy Speaker Vladimir Vitiuc as deputy chairman of the group on behalf of the Moldovan side instead of MP Elena Bacalu was yet the main instituted change. As a first comment in his new post, Vladimir Vitiuc said the sides have openness and potential to continue to develop the relations between Parliament and the PAG. “I will make every effort for all the necessary bills to be adopted by the end of the mandate of the current Parliament,” Vitiuc assured his colleagues.
The appointment of Vitiuc as the coordinator of the work of the Moldovan representatives on the group shows that the status of this platform increased. His post of Deputy Speaker of Parliament will give an additional weight to the adopted decisions and will contribute to increasing expectations of the working group both in Gagauzia and among Moldova’s European partners.
As to the Europeans, one of the plans for the immediate future is for the working group to pay a visit to Brussels. The exact program hasn’t been yet approved, but it is known that the Moldovan and Gagauz MPs will have there a series of meetings with European officials and will visit one of the important institutions of the European Union.
The level of the planned visit can be deduced from the visits made last year by members of the working group to three autonomous regions – Wales, Sudtirol and the Aland Islands – where our MPs studied the functioning mechanisms of the regions. The given trips were made with the organizational and financial support of the Europeans and included meetings with the local authorities of the autonomous regions.
In other words, the European partners univocally show that they expect concrete results from the interparliamentary dialogue between Chisinau and Comrat and will support it by all ways.
Major and secondary tasks
There are yet factors that make the expectations of the work of MPs more modest. The participation by Gagauzia in the implementation of national programs about which Andrian Candu spoke, no matter how important is by its essence, is yet secondary against the goals and tasks of the working group. The projects like internships for PAG specialists in Parliament are even more secondary. This issue could be important for creating a favorable background for solving much more important problems. They can be examined and solved to show the working capacity of the platform, but should not be the focus of the group’s agenda.
The decision about the creation of the working group stipulates, among others, the tasks of this body, such as to work out the plan of action for ensuring the functionality of the special status of ATU Gagauzia and the legislation of the Republic of Moldova, to improve the national legislation in accordance with the special status of ATU Gagauzia and to delimit the powers of the central bodies from the powers of the bodies of the autonomous unit, to create a standing mechanism for overcoming the possible obstacles between the central bodies and ATU Gagauzia. It is not hard to notice that these tasks have much greater importance than the strengthening of the potential of human resources of the PAG.
Dealing with shortcomings before elections
The functionality of Gagauzia or more exactly the way in which this issue has been addressed by the working group during the past two years is rather a negative experience that will inevitably influence the atmosphere of the future activity of the Moldovan and Gagauz MPs. As it is known, the working group has so far drafted three bills aimed at ensuring the functionality of ATU Gagauzia. The given bills were submitted by the PAG to Parliament as legislative initiatives. Two bills were adopted by Parliament, but were rejected by President Igor Dodon. Such a request to the President was made by the deputies of the PAG themselves as they were dissatisfied with the fact that the Parliament’s legal commission introduced its changes in the bills without coordinating these with them, distorting thus the essence of the proposals. The destiny of the third bill is similar. Despite the position of Comrat, the bill was also modified by the legal commission, but Parliament adopted it in the first reading only.
Given these shortcomings that date from the previous parliamentary session, Vladimir Vitiuc’s assurances that all the necessary bills will be adopted by the end of the mandate of the current legislature look somehow unreal. On the other hand, in a year we will have ordinary legislative elections and it is very important for the administration of Parliament, in the person of the Democrats, in the electoral autumn of 2018 to have convincing arguments showing that the creation of the working group that consists of Moldovan and Gagauz MPs was a rather useful project. That’s why some of the decisions that would satisfy those from Comrat would be most probably adopted.
Otherwise, attempts to boycott the elections could be made in Gagauzia. Such calls were already made in Gagauzia society in connection with the dissatisfaction with the fact that only two electoral districts were established in ATU Gagauzia instead of the three promised by the Socialists. If no progress is made in the activity of the interparliamentary group, the idea of boycott will only become stronger. Such a perspective will lead to a serious crisis in the activity of the working group and will generate the necessity of reviewing this dialogue mechanism.
Veaceslav Craciun, Comrat
IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.