Inevitability of snap elections. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“In the absence of a parliamentary majority, it is up to President Maia Sandu to nominate eventual candidates for premiership. That’s why if the goal is to swifter provoke snaps parliamentary elections, candidates for Prime Minister who would formulate absolutely inacceptable programs for the PSRM should be named...”
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Factors favoring snap elections

The political crisis experienced by the Republic of Moldova turned into a governmental crisis. The Chicu Government’s resignation equally involves risks for the deepening of the crisis and for the opportunities for overcoming this. Prime Minister Ion Chicu said the resignation was necessary for returning thighs in the country to normality and for enabling our society to solve the problems and to develop further. Moreover, the outgoing Premier said “there are only two legal ways for inducing the dissolution of Parliament and snap parliamentary elections. The Government’s resignation is one of them. In such conditions, I proposed announcing today the resignation of the Prime Minister and, respectively, of the Government of the Republic of Moldova so that this procedure could be launched as swiftly as possible”.

So, the announced goal of the Government’s resignation is to perform the constitutional formalities needed to trigger snap parliamentary elections. This thing was also confirmed by Igor Dodon in the presence of the Parliament Speaker and the outgoing Prime Minister. The only remark that deserves to be noted from Igor Dodon’s statements (min 0.52) is that President Maia Sandu should assume responsibility and “start discussions with the parliamentary groups for appointing another government, designating a candidate or discussing the agenda – the roadmap for inducing snap elections.” In fact, Maia Sandu was suggested to organize consultations with the parliamentary groups for appointing a new government so that these failed and snap parliamentary elections could be called.

In her inaugural speech, President Maia Sandu responded affirmatively to Premier Ion Chicu’s proposal and Igor Dodon’s advice to cause snap parliamentary elections: “The snap elections are the only way for cleaning the Parliament and breaking the deadlock. The current Parliament does not include 51 MPs who would support a people’s government”. If so, there is no need to work out a special roadmap for inducing snap elections. It is enough for the 37 MPs of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the 15 MPs of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), to reject, by common agreement, any candidate for premiership at least twice. Respectively, in 45 days of the first nomination, the President will be able to dissolve Parliament.

But things aren’t as simple. The point is Igor Dodon speaks also about an eventual transition government that normally can be only the existing outgoing one. Things become even more interesting if we take into account the fact that Ilan Shor also supports the idea of a technocratic transition government, which confirms once again the cooperation existing between the PSRM and the Shor Party. So, the two parties can, in principle, endanger the swift calling of snap parliamentary elections.

In such circumstances, there is a choir of voices warning about the intentions of Igor Dodon and the PSRM to discredit President Maia Sandu, setting her a trap so as to later accuse her of maintaining political instability, of the worsening of the socioeconomic situation and of the situation in the public health sector. There is one more argument in favor of the existence of such intentions that are hidden for now.  It is Igor Dodon’s announcement that the Russian Federation took “the decision to extend for the Moldovan producers the preferential export regime for a number of categories of goods until March 31, 2021”. It should be noted that Russia makes such gifts to the Republic of Moldova only before the elections, pursuing the goal of favoring the PSRM. It happened so before the parliamentary elections of 2019 and then before the presidential elections of 2020. However, the recent extension of the preferential regime covers only the period until March 31, 2021, which is the period before eventual snap elections. so as to later, depending on the interests of the PSRM, to extend again or to interrupt the preferential regime.

Therefore, Igor Dodon could not refrain from not mentioning the fact that the duties for particular categories of Moldovan goods were annulled as a result of agreements he reached with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in October 2018. However, it is opportune to note that in 2016, when he was elected President, he promised that the Russian market will be fully opened to Moldovan products and all the bans imposed on the citizens of Moldova for their stay in Russia will be lifted. Possibly this is the reason why Dodon suffered a defeat in the recent presidential elections?

What’s next?

Igor Dodon announced that the PSRM is ready for the political confrontations that precede the calling of snap parliamentary elections:

The PSRM has only one more thing to do – to organize the party’s congress on December 30, where to adopt a new political program for reelecting Igor Dodon as president of the party. At the same time, the pro-European parliamentary parties should continue the thorough analysis of the eventual unfavorable effects of the laws adopted by the PSRM with the support of the Shor Party, annihilating them within possibilities through the agency of the Constitutional Court.

Conclusions

In such circumstances, President Maia Sandu has to only obey the constitutional provisions and initiate consultations with the parliamentary groups so as to choose a candidate for Prime Minister. As the Constitutional Court’s judgment of August 6, 2020 provides that the President’s role in the consultation of the parliamentary groups is purely formal and technical, the whole responsibility for the eventual investiture of a technocratic transition government will be borne exclusively by Parliament to which the Government is responsible exclusively. For these reasons, it is highly improbable that a parliamentary majority between the PSRM and the Shor Party will be openly formed as such a majority is extremely toxic for the first.

In the absence of a parliamentary majority, it is up to President Maia Sandu to nominate eventual candidates for premiership. That’s why if the goal is to swifter provoke snaps parliamentary elections, candidates for Prime Minister who would formulate absolutely inacceptable programs for the PSRM should be named. For example, the candidates for Premier in the government program could include a clause concerning the leaving by the Republic of Moldova of the Commonwealth of Independent States for the reason that the Free Trade Agreement signed within the CIS on October 18, 2011 is not respected.

A counterpropaganda campaign against the PSRM’s actions aimed at discrediting the new President should be launched so as to reveal the group interests of the leaders of the PSRM, which run counter to the national interests of the Republic of Moldova. The challenges filed to the Constitutional Court and the judgments passed by this should be the main arguments in such a kind of activities.     

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