Cohesion and contradictions inside ruling alliance

IPN analysis: The common campaign to inform the population about the priorities of the pro-European option, launched by the components of the Pro-European Coalition, is a new phenomenon, generated by the political developments in the country and the region and has chances to become successful, if …

In the analyses of the start and the end of last month, I suggested that in order to succeeded in achieving the priorities announced for the current electoral year, especially those concerning the irreversibility of the European integration process, there should be used unordinary methods of promoting the political message. I gave as example the formation of electoral blocs and the signing of moratoriums on unilateral actions that may hamper the common European cause, taking into account the very great stakes that will be put on scales at the end of this year. Accidentally or not, statements were soon made by representatives of both ruling parties and the opposition parties, which contradicted the given suggestions. But last week, the ruling parties contradicted their own contradictions. The components of the Pro-European Coalition announced the launch of a common campaign to inform the population about the European development course of the country. A campaign with a common management center where pro-European tactics and messages will be worked out and the planned actions will be carried out is an absolute novelty, especially given the previous practices and contradictions. The pro-European meeting staged on November 3, 2013, when each of the parties brought their supporters together in a common place separately, does not form part of this category.

What happened meanwhile and how was such a twist was possible in such a relatively short period of time? Only the arguments used by the political leaders to explain the necessity of taking part in the electoral struggles separately remained real and valid, like the one that every party has its own identity, own voters, own responsibilities for the promises made in the previous elections and own achievements and failures in the process of fulfilling them. In ordinary conditions, these arguments are taken account of. Moreover, we can imagine that the acceptance of a common project, with the yielding up of a certain part of political ‘superiority’, was not at all an easy process and decision for the three parties.  

For instance, we can fancy that until the common decision was announced, there were held rather difficult discussions centering on the copyright on the idea of such an awareness-raising campaign and the political benefits that each of the parties will enjoy in case of a success. This rivalry is yet normal until a certain point, given the own particularities of the parties mentioned above. This is because even if each of the parties said that they had earlier announced by an information campaign separately, it is known that the PLDM announced it last October and the party’s leader Vlad Filat started to carry it out long before it was officially announced, shortly after he was dismissed from the post of Prime Minister last March. This is how we can interpret his often field trips, especially to settlement where projects implemented with European funds were completed. The coalition partners had to possibly admit that the PLDM was the first to launch this campaign, while the PLDM had to also admit something. At this moment, what counts is the fact that the leaders of the coalition made public their common decision without informing the media and society about the subtleties of the political negotiations. It is one of the first lessons of that the government coalition fully learned in the wake of practices that often had a negative impact. It is also a sign that before initiating the communication campaign, the components of the Pro-European Collation covered one more stage in improving internal communication. It’s probably the case when the negative assessments given by the leader of the Socialists Igor Dodon to the components of the government collation in a meeting in Comrat should be treated rather as praise than criticism.

So, what extraordinary happened that led to the initiation of an electoral project that is actually common? At internal level, referendums were held in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia despite the opposition of the central authorities, while their results continue to be used despite the risk that the situation in the country may be destabilized. At foreign level, there was bloodshed in Kiev, which poses a real and great danger to the situation in Moldova. Amid such internal and external developments, the opponents of the pro-European option joined their efforts and intensified/radicalized their actions, especially the PCRM and PSRM. A part of them announced their intention to hold such referendums all over the country. At least the political opponents of such actions speak about their electoral character so that the common campaign of the Pro-European Coalition may be treated in a similar way. It may happen that the referendums promoted by the Socialists will not have very great chances, but it may happen that the government coalition still remembers very well the loud failure of a referendum held to amend the Constitution so that it allowed for the direct election of the head of state. It failed because its opponents banked more on the campaign carried out to inform the population. In fact, even if it has more resources available, the government loses the ‘informational war’ in the confrontation with the promoters of the pro-Eastern option. The launch of the common information campaign comes to show that the government realizes the dangers and challenges threatening the pro-European cause if appropriate, well-thought-out projects are not implemented.  

For this common initiative to succeed, it must go out of the strictly party shell. The ruling parties should seek support from the civil society organizations or better from the components of the civil society that share the pro-European option, enjoy sufficient credibility among the people and possess abilities for simple and efficient communication. A part of the modern, interactive or other attractive kinds of communication forms may be borrowed from civil society. Let’s hope that civil society will overcome its resentment towards the politicians, caused by the recent withdrawal of the ‘2%’ law, which, despite the statements about the care for the independence of the NGO sector, did nothing but perpetuate the poor state of this sector owing to its excessive dependence on foreign funding and, worse, on internal groups joined by political and economic interests.

Known and credible personalities from such fields as culture, science, education and sport may be involved in this activity. The politicians should make effort to convince these figures first, if they want to enjoy the support of the large sections of the population. Working together and using arguments concerning the real priorities of the pro-European option, they may contribute to the objective informing of Moldovan society and to the obtaining of social cohesion around an idea that can really become a truly national one.

Valeriu Vasilică, IPN

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