Head of State keeps his word! IPN Experts

The Moldovan politicians made it a habit of saying one thing and doing another thing. However, we can ascertain there are politicians who indeed keep their word. This category includes President Igor Dodon. Let’s remember that recently, on September 5, 2018, after he took part in the meeting of the National Council of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), the Head of State announced that the PSRM entered an active pre-election campaign and his role in this campaign will be to help the PSRM, whose informal leader he considers himself, but he will continue yet to hold office as President. In fact, the President proclaimed himself an active electoral agent of the PSRM. So, he has to yield a propagandistic output.  

We can thus measure the output of the politicians’ activity by analyzing their promises and deeds in a period of time. In this regard, it should be noted that not even two weeks passed since President Dodon solemnly undertook to be the electoral agent of the PSRM that he already started to work. Taking part in the talk show “Moldova live” on the public TV channel Moldova 1, he provided details about the PSRM’s positioning on the political arena before the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019. This is extremely important especially after the ruling Democratic Party of the Republic of Moldova (PDM) announced its re-positioning. But the positioning or re-positioning, even if they are important, do not reveal the profoundness of the problems faced by the country. That’s why the Head of State decided to take the bull by the horns, aiming exactly at the country’s existential problem – the Transnistrian settlement, which is the country’s reintegration. Without any ambiguity, he set the goal and made the promise: “After the parliamentary elections, we will discuss concrete scenarios how this reintegration can take place, but a very important thing here is that any form of reintegration and coexistence will be discussed with all the citizens of the Republic of Moldova at a referendum.” This will evidently happen if the PSRM obtains an absolute majority. So, the citizens should very clearly understand – if they want the country to be reunified, they should support the PSRM in elections.

No matter how optimistic the Head of State is, doubts and questions appear here as he noted that “after a consensus is reached at internal level, the reintegration variant will be proposed to the international community.” So, before the referendum, the President, together with the parliamentary majority of the PSRM, will have to: 1) reach a consensus at internal level, which is to persuade the Transnistrian administration; 2) then at foreign level, to persuade the attackers of the “5+2” format, first of all Ukraine which  could be covered by the eventually agreed model; 3) and only then to organize a referendum, by all appearances, a constitutional one, to amend Article 142(1) “The provisions concerning the sovereign, independent and unitary character of the state and those regarding the permanent neutrality of the state can be reviewed only if the changes are approved by a referendum, by a majority of votes of the citizens  written on electoral rolls”. A series of questions appear here too. What is the priority of the Head of State and the PSRM – the transformation of the parliamentary republic into a presidential republic or the Transnistrian settlement? This is not a trivial question as the Transnistrian elites could say something like: OK, we accept to become the subject of a federative Moldova, but only as part of a parliamentary republic. What will the President and the PSRM do then with the 700,000 signatures collected from citizens for switching over to a presidential republic? Apropos, to institute a presidential republic, the Constitution should be extensively amended. So, to begin with, the President and the PSRM should decide what their priority is and which of the referendums should be held the first?

But it seems that the questions do not end here either. To discuss at foreign level with the partners of the  5+2 format, one should know for sure what the reunified country’s future will be. For the reunified country to remain associated with the European Union, as it is provided in the Association Agreement, the President will have to first organize the third promised referendum – to scrap the Association Agreement with the EU in favor of the entry into the Eurasian Economic Union. This is said in the political program of the PSRM. Moreover, Gagauzia will have a say in this process as 96% of the inhabitants, in the referendum held there on February 2, 2014, said they want Moldova to terminate the relations with the EU and to join the EEU. The situation becomes piquant here as the Head of State was then an electoral agent who favored the holding of that referendum and an active supporter of the anti-EU and pro-EEU option. It seems this should not undermine the President’s eventual diplomatic efforts at foreign level as even the zealous propagandists of the PSRM say the West has geopolitical interests in the Republic of Moldova. If so, the reaching of a compromise in the 5+2 format becomes problematic. The EU, the U.S., the OSCE, Ukraine would have more votes than Moldova, Transnistria and Russia would have.

So, let’s sum up the President’s proposals. After the PSRM scores a victory in the February 2019 elections helped by the Head of State, this will have to hold three referendums – two constitutional ones and a consultative one:  1) on the country’s reintegration; 2) on the presidential republic; and 3) on the scarping of the Association Agreement with the EU so as to join the EEU. The biggest problem resides in the order in which these referendums are to be staged. Evidently, the results of the referendums will influence each other, the first of these, no matter which this is, having the potential to undermine the others. So, it seems that the best solution is for all the three referendums announced by the Head of State and the PSRM to be held on the same day. But a new problem appears here! In 2017, the President tried to organize four (!) referendums on the same day and the Constitutional Court prevented him from mingling the questions.

So, the nice initiatives of the PSRM meet with different barriers. Probably, after the victory of the PSRM and before holding the three referendums, the composition of the Constitutional Court and then of other institutions will have to be modified. That’s why the PSRM will need a four-year-mandate only for modifying the composition of the law enforcement institutions and only in four years, under a new mandate, it will start to organize the three referendums. But there is one more solution! For the President to have been able to fulfil the electoral promise during the first 100 days of presidency, which is by April 1, 2017, he should have raised the problems that accumulated in the relations between the right bank and the left bank of the Nistru so as to reach a compromise concerning the political settlement project. But he didn’t do it and what he promised, but didn’t manage to deliver as the President he could try and deliver as the electoral agent of the PSRM, together with this, after the parliamentary elections.

IPN Experts

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