For a week Moldova had dual power thanks to the Constitutional Court rulings, and to overcome the state of antagonization among political powers, they need to work to restore reciprocal trust. These opinions were expressed by political pundit Igor Boțan at an IPN & Radio Moldova public debate titled “Peaceful transfer of power: reasons, conditions and consequences – the domestic factor”.
Besides the series’ standing expert Igor Boțan, the debate also brought together MP Vladimir Cebotari (PDM) and MP Liviu Vovc (ACUM/DA).
The expert concluded that what we saw after the 24 February 2019 elections was due to an antagonization among political forces.
“This antagonization caused a break in the relations among political parties, which regretfully weren’t able to discuss normally an arrangement for a parliamentary majority. And so we came to see the Constitutional Court ruling of June 7, which unexpectedly announced that the deadline for investing a Government would expire in just a few hours that day, and the failure to meet it would mean snap elections”. For two weeks afterwards, notes the expert, a duality of power existed, stemming from the series of Constitutional Court rulings issued during June 7-9.
“It’s undoubtedly a positive thing that the transfer of power eventually took place peacefully,” said Igor Boțan.
The expert thinks that what happened during this week should be addressed not only by political forces, but also by the justice system, and that the role played by the Constitutional Court in this crisis has been clarified by the recent Venice Commission opinion.
“The body of rulings issued by the Constitutional Court since 2013 actually paved the way for what we saw on June 7, 8 and 9. There are many lessons to be drawn from this in order to prevent such situations, which indeed could have ended tragically for many Moldovans, from repeating themselves in the future”, said Igor Boțan.
The expert observed that the Venice Commission rebuked the Constitutional Court for playing a role which “brings disgrace upon it”.
To better understand the existing antagonization among parties, Igor Boțan recalled a number of key events that contributed to this situation.
“The year 2011 – the Second European Integration Alliance had just been formed and the Prime Minister and Economy Minister Valeriu Lazăr already clashed over who would control state-owned enterprises (...) After that came the confrontation over the baking company Franzeluța, followed by the 2011 hostile takeovers in the banking system, followed by a curious Constitutional Court ruling on that matter (...) Then we found out that one billion dollars had been stolen, then came Vlad Filat’s secret trial, where the details of his plea of not guilty remained unknown to the public (...) Everything culminated with the Constitutional Court judgments of June 7, 8 and 9.”
When the antagonism is so strong, says Igor Boțan, the problem of trust looms large. “If we look at the new government, which is trying to take over the reigns of power, there is the problem of trust in the heads of public agencies which, according to the 2010 Constitutituinal Court judgment, had to be depoliticized. So the question is, can the new government trust these heads of agencies? If we look at their conduct… in the audiovisual sector, for example, it raises a lot of questions. The appointments made in these agencies raise a lot of questions. These issues are far from over and there should be no illusion that a time has come when trust prevails. There is no trust, and without it, problems are inevitable.”
To overcome this strong confrontation, parties should work to restore at least some extent of trust, says Boțan. “I hope they take a look again at that 2010 Constitutional Court ruling, which makes a clear separation between political institutions like Parliament, the Government and all the governmental agencies, on one side, and all the law enforcement and regulatory agencies, on the other”.
Igor Boțan added that Moldova goes through a difficult transition period and it is important that PDM provides “incisive and constructive” opposition, including by making suggestions of candidates to fill vacancies in law enforcement and regulatory agencies on a competition basis. According to Igor Boțan, this would be the first step towards overcoming this antagonism and advancing Moldova’s European integration course.
The public debate titled “Peaceful transfer of power: reasons, conditions and consequences – the domestic factor” is the 111th installment of the “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” Series held with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.