Political stability – priority of priorities in 2014

IPN analysis: The priorities announced by certain political forces for 2014 are electoral in character. The parliamentary elections set to take place at the end of this year will have a great geopolitical weight that can pose serious dangers and challenges.


Last week, a number of political players made public their priorities for this year. For example, Prime Minister Iurie Leanca discussed the priorities from Moldova’s European agenda with the U.S. and the EU ambassadors, while the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vlad Filat spoke about the priorities of his party, which should be taken into account as this is the party with sufficiently large weight in the government coalition. The Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family presented the priorities on its segment. From political viewpoint, the priorities have the status of political promises or commitments, while in an electoral year as 2014 – even of electoral promises that are to make the aspirants for power and the voters on the election day more responsible. That’s why the priorities declared for 2014 and the yet undeclared priorities aroused such special interest.

Declared priorities

It’s logical for the promoters of Moldova’s European course the priorities to be the actions that can ensure the implementation of important projects, initiated earlier on this segment. Normally, from the viewpoint of the political benefits pursued by the pro-European forces, a top priority is the obtaining of the liberalized visa regime as a result of which the Moldovans will be able to travel visa-free to the EU. It is said rather trenchantly and from all the levels that the given regime may be obtained in several months, by summer. If this objective is achieved, especially in the near future, this priority may become an additional trump card for the current government in the autumn elections. The trump card may gain weight if Russia toughens up further the rules of entering the country, including or especially for Moldovans. Volens-nolens, a part of the Moldovans who got used to travelling in one direction, the eastern one, will have to change their preferences and to find out details about the life of the Europeans so as to compare it with that of the people from the East. This may influence the migration of the electoral options from the East to the West. The bringing of the Moldovans home may thus become an advantage for the current government.

Other announced priorities regarding the country’s European course, including the signing and ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU that includes the Free Trade Agreement, can be regarded from the same angle. It’s very important that this happens as soon as possible so that the population in general and separate categories of people, including businessmen, students, parents and the children of Moldovans who settled in the West or work there, have time and possibilities to convince themselves of the benefits offered by the European option. Moreover, many, if not all of the ‘internal’ priorities that only formally seem not to be related to the country’s foreign direction, should be regarded from the same angle. They all must be carried out in time and in sufficient volume so that as many people as possible feel their effect. This also refers to the improvement of justice (not to say ‘reformation’) and of education and to the real and significant rise in pensions, creation of jobs, modernization of infrastructure, etc. These are difficult tasks, but, on the one hand, they are assumed voluntarily. On the other hand, only the fulfillment of these promises can ensure access to power.

Deduced priorities

Only the sincere achievement of the mentioned priorities, not for party or corporate interests, offers the rulers the possibility of coping with another priority that is more important than many, if not all of the priorities taken together. The given accomplishments can serve as the only credible topic for discussion in the communication on the country’s European development course, in relation to the Eurasian one, planned by the government with the population. It can also be the only argument by which the people can be convinced to vote for the integration into the EU in the autumn legislative elections that will eminently have geopolitical weight. Only by such arguments can a paradoxical phenomenon that is close to fantasy and that is deeply rooted in the Moldovan, mainly post-Soviet mentality be eliminated.

It is thus rather hard to explain why the fact that the European Union until now offered Moldova about €100 million only in assistance, which is greatest assistance per capita ever provided by a country, does not count for many of the Moldovans. We do not discuss here the loans that came from Europe and from the West in general as they anyway must be repaid. This is real money and support, with sufficient visible results in the form of new roads, health centers, schools, kindergartens, heating stations, budget support for paying salaries and pensions, etc. The East, instead, promised only once half a billion dollars in the form of a loan, during the rule of the Communists, but later changed its mind. It instead imposed bans that caused damage of tens and hundreds of million in Moldovan lei and foreign currency. It yet supported directly and indirectly the secessionist Transnistrian administration with many billion in foreign currency and with political assistance, contributing to the perpetuation of the serious territorial problem of the country. For some of the Moldovans, the yet inexistent Eurasian Union, which may never be created, is more important because it can provide cheaper gas. It can, but it never did and may take it back whenever it wants. It seems that the political and geopolitical preferences should be evident. But they are not for everyone. The achievement of the priorities announced by the authorities, which can make all the aspects of life better, is the only solution that can change this rather deformed view of many Moldovans. Only by such arguments can the announced people’s movement aimed at informing the people about the country’s European integration become successful.

Undeclared priorities for now

But there is at least one officially unformulated yet priority that is yet very necessary, including for achieving all the other priorities. At least until the parliamentary elections, the country needs political stability as air. It is a hard task because we didn’t have it over the last few years and a lot of things were thus lost. In relation to the government coalition, the stability has two aspects: internal and external.

At internal level, the Pro-European Coalition does not have the right to destroy itself, as it happened earlier, despite the natural and less natural tendencies of its components. Maybe a moratorium should be announced publicly on the unilateral actions that can cause serious inconvenience in this respect. Such a moratorium should ensure the refraining, at least until the elections, from actions that can affect the image of the Pro-European Coalition in general or of its components, like Banca de Economii or the International Airport, or from actions that would make the leaders of the given parties, in relation to each other or to forces from outside, more vulnerable and exposed to blackmail. Otherwise, the achievement of the other priorities will not help, if we presume that they can be achieved in such conditions. Sings of concern in this respect started to appear, including the different attitudes to the joint electoral system, the date of the future parliamentary elections, etc.

The real and possible provocations from outside pose serious dangers. This can affect the stability of the government and the country’s political stability. The significance of the word ‘external’ in this case includes challenges that can appear outside the ruling alliance and outside Moldova too. The situation in the autonomous region with mainly Gagauz population seems to be a relevant example of such two-headed challenges, while the capacity to overcome serious difficulties, caused by the referendums that are set to take place in Gagauzia on February 2, against the central authorities’ wish, will become an important test of the Moldovan government’s ability to  maintain stability.

Also, the post-referendum situation will clearly and quickly show what the real goals of the Gagauz politicians are and if they promote only the interests of the region’s population or are guided from outside. If both of the sides limit themselves to ascertaining accomplished facts in the form of the referendums declared illegal by a non-definitive court decision, we will have a general picture. If the organizers of the referendums use their results to escalate the events, the situation will be different. I hope the rumors that representatives of radical foreign forces, known as “chernosotentsy”, started to concentrate in the region and the forecasts that Moldova’s European course can be thwarted by political destabilization with or without bloodshed will not come true. We should all faster learn the lessons given by the situation in the neighboring Ukraine, which shows that interested forces for which the bloodshed and human casualties are only methods of achieving their goals can anytime appear.

Valeriu Vasilica, IPN

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