Does Moldova really need a President? IPN Experts

Politics become bizarre in the Republic of Moldova. During less than two years of his presidential tenure, Igor Dodon was temporarily suspended from office in connection with the impossibility of performing his duties for four times (Article 91 of the Constitution). According to the Explanatory Dictionary, impossible means something that cannot be done. But we know for sure that sometimes Igor Dodon can, but does not want to sign decrees to appoint particular ministers or to promulgate particular laws. So, it is not about the impossibility of performing his duties, but about the party interest or stubbornness. As the President pledged solemnly, under oath, to respect the country’s Constitution and laws, the dismissal procedure (Article 89) should be applied in this case for acts by which be violates provisions of the Constitution, which is for repeated voluntarism, party interest or stubbornness.

The problem would have been solved long ago if the government with which the President cohabitates would have avoided difficulties. The truth is that the current government does not enjoy real legitimacy after it converted about 1/3 of the MPs at a time when the Presidential Office insists it is the only legitimate institution that is supported by the people. In such circumstances, for breaking the artificially created deadlock, they resort to the Constitutional Court’s find to declare impossible to be done what is actually undesirable for the President. The decrees that are undesirable for the President are signed by an acting President, either the Speaker of Parliament or the Prime Minister. The curious thing in the Constitutional Court’s find resides is that while the office of President is held by an acting President, the Republic of Moldova actually has two Presidents – the elected one who keeps practically all his powers and the acting one whose mission is to sign the decrees that are undesirable for the elected President. This is the method of cohabitation between the government and the President who, if he wants, can promulgate very specific laws, like the one on capital amnesty, the ‘sale of nationality, the taxation reform that runs counter to his own economic program, etc.

If, by resorting to the absurd, the President would refuse to sign decrees in general and to fulfil his duties, these would be successfully fulfilled by the acting President, without resorting to the procedure for dismissing the President. Thus, the Constitutional Court by its find turned a mandatory constitutional procedure into a pure political opportunity. Two legitimate questions appear here - Does Moldova really need an elected President? And How long will this period of ingenious cohabitation between the government and the President last? The answer to the second question is evident – until after the parliamentary elections set for February 24, 2019.

After the elections, the games with propagandistic characters concerning principles and values will definitely end. This means that if the elections are won by the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) by an absolute majority, the President, who declares himself the informal leader of the PSRM, will not have reasons to be stubborn. If the PSRM does not obtain an absolute majority, it will have to form a majority, ruling coalition with the Democratic Party of the Republic of Moldova (PDM). This variant involves major risks for the PSRM, which knows from the recent experience that the parties that ruled together with the PDM during the past nine years were later eliminated from the political arena. If the PSRM dares to refuse to cooperate with the PDM, the risk of dismissing the President for the four episodes of flagrant, ostensible violation of the Constitution will increase considerably. If the PSRM does not obtain a parliamentary majority, it is highly probable that it will also lose the referendum on the dismissal of the President as the PSRM recently lost the mayoral elections in Chisinau and Bălți municipalities. Furthermore, the PDM has elaborated mechanisms for converting MPs from Communists, Liberates and others into Democrats. Why shouldn’t it also apply these aptitudes in relation to the Socialists? The main law enforcement agencies will anyway remain under the control of the PDM after the legislative elections. So, the President’s game called stubbornness will have to be thoroughly accounted for. Additionally, the PDM is motivated to make sure that serious candidates win in single-member constituencies and these would cut many ribbons amid excessive media coverage, baskets with food, etc. And the social stores of the Shor Party will be very useful for preventing the PSRM from scoring easy victories. In this context, it is not excluded that the President and the PSRM will regret a lot the replacement of the electoral system and the stubbornness game.

IPN Experts

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