on the organization of the debate “The culture of early elections: What society should know, expect and demand when early elections occur in the wake of a political crisis”, the 18th installment of the “Developing Political Culture in Public Debates” Series. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
The 18th debate was a logical sequel to the previous debate and it focused on the second solution to overcome the ongoing political crisis: conducting of early legislative elections. Invitations were made to two political parties that have had unequivocal positions as to the eventuality of early elections, and namely the Communist Party (PCRM) and the People's Party (PPRM), the latter being an extra-parliamentary party. Throughout this year PCRM has been a vocal proponent of early elections and, moreover, has done everything in its power to trigger them; and PPRM has repeatedly expressed its disagreement with this solution for overcoming the ongoing political crisis. Strangely enough, yet in the spirit of Moldovan politics, PCRM representatives declined the invitation this time, and IPN had to replace this position with a political analyst. The speaker, who is also a PCRM group member in the Chisinau Council, was perhaps even more open in arguing the cause of early elections than a higher-ranking Communist politician would have been. The political opponent of this option presented his own arguments. The experts attending the debate had the mission to analyze and explain to the media and the public at large the pros and cons of these two positions.
The pros and cons were examined through the lens of Moldova's European integration path. By the way, the 17th debate, which focused on the opportunities of forming a new government, had the same leitmotif. The majority of speakers in both debates were for the formation of a new pro-European government, and thus against early elections, highlighting the necessity of preserving the country's current course of development as a priority.
The last two debates had a novel organizational element, which gave the discussions a boost of dynamism: in the final 15-20 minutes, reporters were offered the opportunity to ask questions, and they fully made use of this opportunity.
The speakers speculated that early elections could resolve the ongoing political crisis, but the winners could change the current course of the country.
Political analyst Igor Botan said the necessity of holding early elections appears as a result of a crisis. Normally, when the politicians do not solve a crisis, they seek help from the people. “We are now in a period when these elections would be a natural way out of the crisis. The major problem actually does not reside in the crisis only, but also in the fact that the ruling politicians lost the authority. […] Moldova’s main problem is the quality of governance. We are tired of the politicians’ behavior. Those who do business, should do it, while those who have the vocation to govern should govern. We can no longer tolerate such impudence. Political crises are in fact moral crises. Do at least something for the situation to be predictable so that those who are in the country know what they should do – stay or leave.”
Communist councilor in the Chisinau Municipal Council and political analyst Victor Gurau said that until now the citizens witnessed the creation of an oligarchic corporation. “They shared the spheres of influence between them. The PCRM was constant in promoting its message that in a democracy, even a young one, early elections are the best way of overcoming the crisis. We now should say nothing as they say everything themselves. There are permanent scandals concerning political corruption, contraband, mafiotization. Moldova’s success story is no longer a success story.”
Mihail Camerzan, a member of the Political Bureau of the People’s Party of Moldova, considers that the early elections in Moldova differ from those in an advanced democracy. “Elections in our country take place when two persons cannot come to terms. The elections will change nothing as not even the Communists provide arguments as to how they will resolve the crisis. If elections are held, the winners will try to take revenge on those who will suffer defeat. The parties that are now represented in Parliament made everything possible to prevent the extra-parliamentary parties from entering the legislative body. This means that there will be the same parties and it will be as hard to govern.”
Expert in electoral strategies Olga Nicolenco voiced hope that Moldova will have a government, which will be different, eve if the same players will be in power. “Since 2000 until now, we had 28 elections. Elections weren’t held only in 2004. Thus, we had 2.5 rounds year. I’m concerned that the country’s course towards European integration may be changed. The early elections will be a waste of time, money and hopes.”
The Agency published 3 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md: on 28.05.13, “Government will be voted in because parties are not ready for early elections, debate” - http://ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/54579, on 29.05.13, “Early elections would resolve crisis, buy might change country’s course, opinions” - http://ipn.md/en/integrare-europeana/54594, “There is a risk that voters will be manipulated and votes will be bought, debate” - http://ipn.md/en/special/54593.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN
30 May 2013