Public debate: The Technocratic and Minority Government as a solution: advantages and risks


Press Release
on the organization of the debate
The Technocratic and Minority Government as a solution: advantages and risks”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”


Held on 19 November 2019, Debate No.121 brought together: Former Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc historian and political scientist; Victor Juc, director of the Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Research;  Former Minister of Finance, economic expert Veaceslav Negruța,and Igor Botan, the permanent expert of the project.  

Igor Botan, the permanent expert of the project, has said that, based on the governance program for the year of the cabinet of ministers headed by Ion Chicu, and based on the message conveyed by President Igor Dodon during the investiture, this executive is called a technocratic and minority government. "In order for everyone to understand, the government must have a political color and must express the aggregate will, the common denominator between the parliamentary groups that invest a government with a full four-year mandate, as long as the parliamentary term lasts. This is not the case of the Chicu Government. We have all seen that this government is established for a year, until the presidential elections, and this explains the composition of this government, which is made up of experts. Most ministers have been presidential advisers and their task is to bring the society back to some functional parameters. That is, no political goals are being pursued by the Government”, noted the expert. Also, in his opinion, much more complex tasks are hidden behind these appointments and tasks.

According to Igor Botan, there is a minority Government, because one of the groups that voted for it - the Democratic Party - says very clearly that it has an interest in overcoming the situation and that it would be wrong for the Republic of Moldova to be thrown into a new election campaign. "The government is a minority one, as the Democratic Party has made it very clear that they are waiting for a period until things clear up, but there are certainly shadow interests here. But this means that this technocratic and minority government comes on the initiative of Igor Dodon, who has delegated most of his advisers to this government. And he did another important thing - he conveyed a message to this executive, which comes to replace the platform of de-oligarchization with a new predominantly social platform”. Igor Botan has also said that for the first time the Republic of Moldova has a technocratic minority government, with no announced political color.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Victor Stepaniuc, historian and political scientist, argues that the experience of the Republic of Moldova in terms of technocratic and minority governments is quite limited. According to him, a government that has honored more or less its mandate was the one led by Dumitru Bragiș, being voted as a certain compromise. In his opinion, the rest were political, including the government headed by Chiril Gaburici, even though it was a minority one. "A minority executive means when there is no clear majority and when some people vote conditionally. We have a real minority government only now, because the other one had a consolidated majority, which permanently supported all its bills. How will other parties treat the Chicu Government, apart from the PSRM? They could set conditions. But I think certain laws, bills will be voted on by the Democratic Party, maybe even most of them. But it is very likely that those from ACUM will also vote, because when social bills start being put forward, they cannot vote against them,” argues the political scientist.

Victor Stepaniuc has mentioned that draft laws related to the judiciary, the fight against corruption will follow, and in his opinion, the deputies from ACUM will have to vote. This is because, according to him, the minority government did not give up on the provisions of the previous executive’s program. “It has the characteristics of a national reconciliation, national salvation government. Although de jure it has only the support of the Socialists, I think the other political forces will be able to join in several projects. The members of this government are announced as technocrats. They are not party members. They are presidential advisers. That is, they were presidential advisers, but not only, because they have work experience in the central public authorities”, stated the political scientist.

Victor Juc, director of the Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Research, believes that the Chicu Government has come up as a solution to salvage the situation for the moment. It is not just by chance that a provisional government has been appointed, because it has been set for a period of one year, although the current legislature may last until 2023. "In the media the idea is circulating that it is a technocratic and apolitical government. The “technocratic” term is appropriate, in my opinion, as it characterizes the ministers. And here we have a binomial – either technocratic or proposed by parties. In this case it is not proposed by the parties, although it cannot exist without the support of a party. As for the apolitical government, it is wrong, because any government, by definition, deals with political activity, ministers are political figures, while ministries develop and implement policies”, stressed Victor Juc.

"As regards the minority qualifier, it denotes the support enjoyed by an executive and here the basic problem is that the minority government starts with a majority one. In order for this government to operate, it initially needs 50 + 1 support in Parliament to be validated. The big problem of governments is their vulnerability. The least vulnerable are the governments that are based on a one-color parliamentary majority, such as the Tarlev Government. They are followed by the governments that enjoy the support of a two-color majority, and in the end come those with a three-color or multicolored majority, formalized as a rule. However, the most vulnerable proves to be the government that does not enjoy a formalized majority, and another qualifier for it would be a minority government”, said the director of the Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Research.

Former Minister of Finance, economic expert Veaceslav Negruța, has mentioned that there are two arguments that make him believe that the newly installed government has nothing in common with a technocratic government. According to him, based on international experience, there are two conditions that precede the establishment of a technocratic government. For example, the technocratic government comes as a solution for solving a situation or a long-term political crisis, which is not the case of the Republic of Moldova. "And in order to preserve and manage the situation, in democracies where there is transparency and political institutions work, a common denominator is reached and a technocratic government is set up until certain decisions or solutions are identified by politicians. In the case of the Republic of Moldova, what happened in a very limited time span was something different. Practically in two days, the unnatural alliance was replaced by a natural alliance. We saw that the government that was prepared beforehand took the ministerial offices and we returned to the status quo prior to June 2019," noted the expert.

According to him, the second condition of a technocratic government is the composition of the executive itself and many question arise in this regard. "It will take time before all the political connections of the members of the government are identified. It will become clear that many of them are former politicians or active members of various parties since the 1990s. An important aspect is the tenure of this government. It was announced by the incumbent Prime Minister that the term is one year, until the presidential elections. However, in a parliamentary structure and the Republic of Moldova, however, is a parliamentary state, somehow the correlation is made with the parliamentary elections and not with the presidential ones. The new prime minister also said, before being nominated, that he would accept this position under certain conditions. There was no other information in the public space about these conditions. We have seen very clearly that the government agenda or the government’s tasks were launched on Monday by and from institutions other than the government. However, we saw a copy even of the management model, when on Tuesday, the oligarch launched certain objectives and the government subsequently worked to achieve these whims, related to image improving and political interest,” specified Veaceslav Negruța.

The Agency published 5 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 19.10.19, „Technocratic and minority government as a solution: advantages and risks. IPN debates” -
https://www.ipn.md/en/technocratic-and-minority-government-as-a-solution-advantages-and-risks-8004_1069697.html; „Igor Botan: The return to cooperation between Socialists and Democrats means stagnation. IPN debates” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-the-return-to-cooperation-between-socialists-and-democrats-8004_1069810.html; „Veaceslav Negruța: The trigger for the government  dismissal was Dodon's big stake in taking over the General Prosecutor. IPN debates” - https://www.ipn.md/en/veaceslav-negruta-the-trigger-for-the-government-dismissal-was-dodon-8004_1069698.html; „Victor Stepaniuc: We have the characteristics of a national rescue government” - https://www.ipn.md/en/victor-stepaniuc-we-have-the-characteristics-of-a-national-rescue-8004_1069701.html; „Victor Juc: There cannot be an apolitical government, any government deals with political activity” - https://www.ipn.md/en/victor-juc-there-cannot-be-an-apolitical-government-any-government-8004_1069703.html.

IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.

Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN