Danger of Igor Dodon’s opportunism. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“Furthermore, it is necessary to make and adopt a special law on the presidential administration’s activity that would develop constitutional norms concerning the powers and activity of the President and would exclude the arbitrary transfer, for opportunist reasons, of the most important state institutions under the control of other institutions...”

Exclusivism of alleged statesman

Incumbent President Igor Dodon intends to leave office together with the few powers enjoyed by the Head of State. He had to lose the elections so as to change his attitude to the role and powers that should be enjoyed by the President. If he had been reelected in the supreme post, he would have insisted on the constitutional reform, as the decree he signed on July 29, 2020 provides. He confirmed this in the program “President Responds” of October 16, 2020, specifyingI proposed amending the Constitution so as to switch over to the presidential regime or the parliamentary-presidential regime. Not because I would like additional powers, even if I’m sure that I will win the elections and will get my last presidential term, but this problem should be solved. If we elect together the President, we should offer them at least some of the powers so we could make them account for their deeds and allow them to firmly ask for solutions to matters of principle from Parliament (min. 52.36 - 53.11).

The citizens of the Republic of Moldova convinced themselves for multiple times of the inconsistency of politician Igor Dodon. However, his opportunism should be once again noted. In his interview of September 3, 2020 for RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service, Igor Dodon said that he has a strategic view that turns him from politician into a statesman: “The difference between a statesman and a political man is very great; the political man thinks about the next elections, while the statesman takes care of the interests of the state either his popular approval rating decreases or not so as to achieve particular objectives in the interests of the state. I think that if I run for a new term in office, everyone understands that my chances of winning are the biggest, despite everything that is going on”.

Now that he lost the elections, we see that Igor Dodon’s strategic view faded away, while his pretention to appear as a statesman turned out to be ordinary baloney. The real physiognomy of politician Igor Dodon, that of opportunist with exclusivist pretentions, was exhibited on December 3, when the parliamentary group of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), whose informal leader he is, voted alongside the MPs of the Shor Party and the multiple turncoats of Plahotniuc’s former party for transferring the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) from the President’s control under the Parliament’s control.   

Substantiation of opportunism and camouflaging of own intentions

Even an alleged statesman should not say one thing and do another one. That’s why an explanation was found as to why the PSRM insisted that the SIS should be under presidential control while Dodon held office of President, but now that he lost the recent elections, it considers that the SIS should be transferred under parliamentary control, which is under the control of the PSRM, whose management he intends to take over. The explanation was uttered by the PSRM’s representative, MP Vasile Bolea: “We have an elected President. Regrettably, this also holds other nationalities. We consider this is a matter that can hamper as the SIS can be used to the detriment of the national security. The newly elected President, when obtaining the second nationality, took an oath of allegiance to another state. The SIS is an institution over which Parliament had control. Therefore, the relevant departures should be prevented as the last statements of the President-elect generate suspicions that she could take measures to destabilize the situation in the country”.

The Socialist MP ignores the fact that Moldova’s Parliament on June 5, 2003 amended the Nationality Law, allowing the Moldovan citizens to have more nationalities. Article 24 (4) of the Nationality Law provides that:  “The citizen of the Republic of Moldova who has the nationality of another state, in the relations with the Republic of Moldova is recognized only as a Moldovan citizen. This way, the citizens with multiple nationalities have the same rights as the persons who have only the nationality of the Republic of Moldova, with the rule having no exceptions. This was confirmed on November 18, 2008, when the European Court of Human Rights pronounced the sentence in the case Tănase and Chirtoacă v. Moldova (application No. 7/08) by which it ascertained that the Republic of Moldova is a party to the European Convention on Nationality that, by art. 17 (1), guarantees the equality of rights of the citizens with multiple nationalities and of the citizens who have only the nationality of the country of residence.

Leaving aside the formal aspects of Igor Dodon’s opportunism, it is important to note the danger to which he exposed the Republic of Moldova and its interests when he:

The given actions are a real danger to national security, while the representatives of the PSRM pretend not to be seeing it, expressing their concern about potential dangers that they themselves invent so as to have pretexts for manipulating and for undermining the activity of the state institutions the control over which they do not want to lose.

Measures that should be taken

The MPs who are supporters of President-elect Maia Sandu asked the Constitutional Court (CC) to pronounce. On December 7, 2020, the CC adopted the decision to suspend the effect of the law of December 3 concerning the transfer of the SIS from presidential control under parliamentary control, until the case is definitively solved. In such circumstances, we can only guess what decision the CC will take in this case. However, to prevent in the future expressions of political opportunism in relation to institutions whose duty is to ensure the security of the state, something more is needed. In this regard, the CC should review its own decision of March 4, 2016 by which it actually annulled a part of the constitutional reform of 2000 by violating the principle of unity and balance in constitutional matters. Consequently, the direct election of the President was restored and the provisions concerning the limitation of the President’s powers remained intact. This way, the citizens elect the President who practically has no powers. Moreover, this can anytime be arbitrarily stripped of the few powers enjoyed. The danger of such opportunist games should not be underestimated – the loss of people’s trust that their will and vote matter and can contribute to freeing the country from the snares of corrupt political clans.

Evidently, to restore the unity and balance in constitutional matters, the reform of 2000 should be completely annulled and the semi-presidential system of government should be restored. Furthermore, it is necessary to make and adopt a special law on the presidential administration’s activity that would develop constitutional norms concerning the powers and activity of the President and would exclude the arbitrary transfer, for opportunist reasons, of the most important state institutions under the control of other institutions.

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