"The initiative to assume responsibility for amending the Law on the Prosecutor's Office has come about as an act of rebellion against the slow nature of the reforms for the" de-capture "of the state or even against the lack thereof. The motion of censure came up as an act meant to restore the PSRM-ACUM relationship to the previous state of subordination between the "executors" and the "supervisors" of the reforms ... "
As to the legality of the decision by which the Maia Sandu Government assumed the responsibility for amending the Law on the Prosecutor's Office, only the Constitutional Court can rule thereon, when and if there is a request in this regard. The political meaning of this unorthodox or even radical gesture has to do with the tremendous concern felt by the ACUM bloc for the actual lack of tangible effects in the reform of the judicial system and of the Prosecutor's Office, without which there can be no "de-capture" or "de-oligarchization" of the state, nor development of the society in any field. On the contrary, lately, the judicial system seems to have resorted to retaliatory measures against those who dared to "disturb its peace". By hazard or perhaps by compulsoriness, arranged beforehand through political means, the respective failures strike a blow predominantly against the ACUM bloc and practically do not affect the PSRM as a constituent part of the governing coalition. The latest proof was the second round of elections for Chisinau mayor, which ACUM lost to PSRM. One of the main reproofs addressed to the ACUM bloc by a part of the electorate was their "unnatural" collaboration with the PSRM at national level. If, for five months, this collaboration had produced the expected effects, in particular, in the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office, there would have been fewer reproofs, and more votes for the ACUM candidate, perhaps enough to ensure his victory.
Kalashnikov rifle and vicious circle
By assuming responsibility, the ACUM bloc has tried to step out of a vicious circle in which it has been for five months, when actually many of the actions aimed at reforming the main sectors in the state are failing. For example, the coalition partner blames ACUM for the failure of almost all public contests, organized for the appointment of new heads of the public authorities. In its turn, the ACUM bloc, but also part of the society, are not satisfied with the results of competitions that "did not fail", for example, the contests for the Constitutional Court and the National Anticorruption Center, which allegedly favored PSRM from political point of view. In this regard, the ACUM bloc found itself in a situation alike that from a joke about a Soviet-era plant, in which, regardless of how the manufactured gun parts were assembled, in the end, only the Kalashnikov rifle was produced.
From political point of view, the ACUM bloc reacted quite naturally and promptly, right after the local elections, acting according to the principle "delay is tantamount to death", political death, of course. But perhaps the response was not politically calculated enough. In the sense that this initiative affected major political interests of the PSRM.
"Executors" and "supervisors"
In political terms, the PSRM also reacted normally and swiftly enough. Due to the lack of time, experience, and communication capacity, the ACUM bloc did not want or did not make sure that its initiative did not restrict the political field of maneuver of the coalition partner, which until now was quite broad. This is why the PSRM could not accept, either to give up the political influence on the Prosecutor's Office (if it is right when it accuses the ACUM bloc of wanting such influence), or to give someone else the priority in this crucial reform (if things are "clean" regarding liability). This is why the no confidence motion came about, in the narrower sense.
While in a broad sense, the motion has come up as a tool for restoring the status-quo in the PSRM-ACUM relations, where, according to the initially established algorithm (largely at the initiative of ACUM), some have the status and role of executors in the process of achieving the goals assumed upon taking over the power, and others – the role of supervisors. It is not difficult to figure out who was assigned what role. According to this algorithm, ACUM has leverage, responsibilities, but also enormous risks as to the effects of the governance, whereas the PSRM, with more political “backstage” experience, uses this situation to its own advantage. In this process, President Igor Dodon has appropriated the role of spokesperson of the PSRM, whose unofficial leader he is said to be, putting great pressure on the ACUM bloc Government, which he has long been accusing of failures at several levels. Not even a single case of sharing responsibilities for failures between coalition partners got public exposure.
Will it fall or not? Who stands to win and who stands to lose?
Chances are that the Sandu Government will fall. Taking into consideration that there is hardly any time left to remedy the situation, as in the two precious days of the weekend, it seems that no negotiations have been conducted or announced in the public space, PSRM and the ACUM bloc will hold on to their initial positions.
PDM - winner in all scenarios
The first winner in this situation will be the Democratic Party, which by all means will publicly gloat over the fact that its political opponents are slaughtering each other, on their own initiative. Based on some informal statements on social media concerning possible scenarios of formation of the new Government, it cannot be ruled out that the Democrats might have the opportunity to enjoy a comeback to governance, be it even partial. It seems that PDM is planning its future gains quite wisely: for instance, by withdrawing its own no confidence motion against the Sandu Government, judging useful to allow the PSRM and ACUM to make each other vulnerable in their future confrontation in the Parliament.
Machiavelli - PSRM accomplice or vice versa?
Additionally, PSRM will benefit, as any other party of this format, in case it takes over government by itself, both on the national and local levels. In order to achieve this, the PSRM will continue to implement the principles formulated by Niccolo Machiavelli at the beginning of the 16th century, according to which, it is politically useful to remove the stronger adversary by allying with a weaker opponent, who would subsequently be dealt with. However, the "stronger opponent" has not been removed for good, because the PSRM did not allow its "weaker opponent-ally" to do so, and it is not yet known who will come out on top.
In the medium-term, PSRM may suffer large losses due to its conflict with the ACUM bloc. The consequences of the conflict might not directly affect the party, but mostly Igor Dodon, however, since the party itself is strongly identified with Dodon, the PSRM will be impacted. Ordinary presidential elections could be held next year, which the current incumbent could easily win without having to compete with his former opponent, Maia Sandu, who has said that she is more interested in the position of prime minister. If we assume that "Partidul Nostru" leader, Renato Usatîi, might boost his political potential before the presidential race, Igor Dodon and the PSRM will have a harder time to maintain their political influence than before the eventual motion of no confidence vote in Parliament.
ACUM has nothing to lose but ... their chains and political image
If the Sandu government falls, the ACUM bloc has both to lose and to gain from it, however, it is not clear yet whether the impact of the gains or that of the losses would prevail. As part of the ruling coalition, its political image will suffer, because it will be remembered as a party that did not meet the high expectations of a very large part of the society. An image associated with bad luck has never benefited anyone in politics. However, the divorce from the PSRM and, through affiliation, with Igor Dodon, could boost the political image of the ACUM bloc, making it more trustworthy, compared to the period of the "abnormal coalition".
Thus, the initiative to assume responsibility for amending the Law on the Prosecutor's Office could appear as an act of rebellion compared to the slow pace or lack of reform in the post-captured-state era. For its part, the motion of no confidence came up as an act which aimed to restore the PSRM-ACUM relation to its former state of reform "executors" and "supervisors". The gains and losses generated by these two actions are relative and are to be proven in time.
The scenario of snap elections as a solution to the current crisis within the governing alliance could be the subject of another analysis. Additionally, it is required to weigh the benefits and damages that the Moldovan society has to bear following the above-mentioned political exercises.
Valeriu Vasilică, IPN