“Mucking out of stables” and of hopes in Chisinau. IPN analysis

“What is going on in Chisinau municipality now seems more like cleaning out of the stables of the legendary Augias, but also thrillers in which a “good” killer unlawfully murders all the “bad” ones who once offended this personally or the one who ordered the murder. But in our case, hope that good things can be done by legal, democratic ways is also annihilated...”

During several months, Chisinau municipality has witnessed a number of novelties with immediate and long-term impact on the life of the citizens. This refers, in particular, to the massive replacement of the heads of municipal divisions, services and enterprises and, newer, to the structure of the divisions of the Chisinau Municipal Council and not only. Taking into account the role and place of the capital city, these changes have a direct and indirect, immediate and long-term impact on the whole society of the Republic of Moldova. The interested sides could clarify things and could try to explain the purpose, impact, benefits and risks of these metamorphoses to the citizens in the last public debate at IPN, entitled „Administrative and political interference in capital city”.  But after this too, there would be sufficient place for a view from outside or even for a lot of such views. This confirms the complexity of the situation.

On the one hand, profound changes are needed because the municipality, as the whole country, in the best case stagnates, especially as regards the quality of people’s life. For example, in a country struck by corruption, the capital city cannot be different even if we admit that the elected mayor general Dorin Chirtoaca was sincere in his multiple and multiannual approaches in this regard.

But the former managers of the capital city have their own sins, besides those of the central government, in what has happened here, even if we admit that suspended mayor general Dorin Chirtoaca and the Liberal Party (PL), which controlled the situation and had responsibilities in Chisinau during many years, do not agree with such an assessment. There are more eloquent examples very closely.

Under the management of “Chirtoaca-PL”, Chisinau became again for many years the “capital of interim mayoralty” and of only one deputy mayor general of four as the former managers didn’t have will and capacity to cooperate with other political forces to divide the power.  It ‘became again” because Chisinau was already in such a state in 2005-2007, during the Communist government, before Dorin Chirtoaca came to the City Hall. In a community of interim mayoralty, things cannot be stable and developing, aimed at people’s lives. Where we started from and where we arrived...

Another example. What is happening now can be described as crass abuses that are partially committed with almost legal instruments that were handed over to the “abuser” by the current victims. It is alleged that when these were in power, they hoped to use these for the own benefit. I refer to the Liberal Party when this formed part of the governmental elite, but especially to mayor general Dorin Chirtoaca, whom we would offend a lot if we presume that he didn’t know or didn’t promote the bill that distorted the fragile balance of powers between the Municipal Council and the mayor general, in favor of the last. “Don’t dig the hole...” – would be very suitable in this situation. 

In this regard, acting mayor general Silvia Radu plays the role of “stable cleaner”. If a mechanism does not work or works badly, this should be changed. But the good things cannot be done by bad methods, more exactly non-democratic and illegal methods or methods to the limit of legality. It seems that Silvia Radu uses “picked up” instruments without having this legal or moral right as she was named acting mayor by another acting mayor, Nistor Grozavu. The name of the one who appointed her matters if we want to understand how Silvia Radu started to suddenly and miraculously hold two posts: of deputy mayor general and of acting mayor general. It is about that “single deputy mayor general” whom Dorin Chirtoaca trusted during many years and who was involved in that case of corruption that also involves Dorin Chirtoaca. The big difference is that one of them, who didn’t sign documents, is tried and was suspended from post and placed under judicial control, while the other one, who signed documents, returned to his post and to the post of his chief from which he named Silvia Radu instead of this chief. Even a person who knows less the realities in the Republic of Moldova would draw the conclusion that these things wouldn’t have happened without extensive and complex preliminary agreements, by distributing mandatory roles to new and old players.

The role of the new player is to “clean out”, not more and not less. The inflexible way in which this fulfills her duties do not give Silvia Radu too many chances to return to the mayoralty as a result of eventually new, early or ordinary elections. She rather has the task of cleaning the road for another player than Dorin Chirtoaca, who is not known to the public for now, but also for another party than the Liberal Party, which is already known to the public. In general, this could be expected to contribute to making the “clone” of Parliament in the capital city, model by which some win the elections, while others rule.

It is expected that Silvia Radu in the nearest future will insist more on structure and system changes, respectively, the impact for the citizens and for the political class will be more felt as it can happen that this will have a longer period of interim mayoralty, until the middle of next year, when local general elections will take place. But she could also have only several months available, if the current elected mayor general tenders his resignation the next few days, following the example of the mayor of Balti Renato Usatyi. In this case, the process of “mucking out stables” and “the road” will be hastened maximally, with all the risks and dangers of a process that is hastened, eventually by order.

Dorin Chirtoaca will most probably not hand over his resignation for several supposed reasons. 1. He would have tendered it long ago if he had taken this scenario into account. 2. This is how the elected mayor general understands human dignity and the principles of democracy, which he considers he can protect by resistance. 3. It is true that many criminal cases were started against him by the “models” of Vlad Filat and Veaceslav Platon, who after the definitive conviction continue to be exposed to threats. 4. He banks on the support of the development partners, in particular the Council of Europe, which is expected to take an official position in this regard in the near future.

The last reason is probably less known in the public sphere and deserves to be taken into account. But the Venice Commission had an argument worth €100 million from the EU in favor of its recommendations not to change the election system, but this wasn’t sufficiently convincing for the Moldovan government. 

What is going on in Chisinau municipality now seems more like cleaning out of the stables of the legendary Augias, but also thrillers in which a “good” killer unlawfully murders all the “bad” ones who once offended this personally or the one who ordered the murder. But in our case, hope that good things can be done by legal, democratic ways is also annihilated...

Valeriu Vasilică, IPN

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