The Republic of Moldova during several months has been in a profound crisis that is called political or constitutional and that has been accompanied by the health crisis. The novelty of the period is the fact that the Constitutional Court (CC) was engaged in the crisis as a component part. A kind of ‘state of emergency’ was created around the CC. The invitees to IPN’s public debate “About state of emergency in the country and at the Constitutional Court: motives, players, solutions” tried to find out the motives, players and, eventually, solutions to the situation.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said the situation witnessed now started after the first consultations with the parliamentary groups, after which the President reached the conclusion that no parliamentary group wants a Government to be voted in and they all want snap parliamentary elections. This was the beginning and what influenced the further behavior of the presidential administration in this conflict.
The expert considers the CC acted correctly. It clearly said that the period of 90 days during which a Government could have been formed expired as the CC’s case law specifies that no factor is taken into account after the period of 90 days and Parliament should be dissolved. “The CC combined two factors so as to respect the own case law. If the CC had ruled in favor of Parliament, Moldova would have experienced a much more dangerous crisis that would have gone against the Court’s case law of 2013, which says that a Government cannot be interim endlessly,” said Igor Boțan.
International public health expert Ala Tocarciuc said that from sanitary viewpoint, clear criteria for managing the epidemiological process were worked out last June. The countries were divided into different categories and the color of the country or region depended on the number of infected persons per 100,000 people.
“If we take these indicators into account, in August 2020 inclusive, when Moldova was close to the campaign prior to the presidential elections, the country was a “red zone”. To be a “green zone”, the rate should be under 1,300 new cases during two weeks. But the imposition of restrictions in Moldova was delegated more to the local public authorities, Therefore, Moldova practically didn’t have a national state of emergency when the rate was higher than 1,300 during two weeks. That’s why when the state of emergency was declared, it was good news from pandemic viewpoint, not yet from political viewpoint,” she stated, noting that pandemic measures, not political measures should be applied when a pandemic problem is to be solved.
According to professor Alexandru Arsene, university lecturer, doctor habilitate in constitutional law, the political crisis started together with the end of the presidential elections of 2020, when those who held power suffered a defeat and saw that things were going out of control. “The start of the political crisis was that unconstitutional resignation tendered by Prime Minister Ion Chicu who, in accordance with the Constitution, was to fulfill his duties until the formation of a new Government. This political crisis generated an institutional crisis. The Government renounced its constitutional duties and later Parliament started not to fulfill the respective duties,” stated Alexandru Arsene.
According to him, this time the new composition of the CC tried and managed to fulfill its duties of authority of constitutional jurisdiction, compared with the other authorities, and not to become involved in the evident political struggle. This institutional crisis worsened and the CC managed to properly fulfill its role of referee.
The crisis combined with the essential political component is very powerfully perceived by almost 90% of the citizens, including in the period during which a number of CC decisions were pronounced, said Doru Petruți, director general of the Sociological Research Company [imas]. It also goes to a feeling caused to the voters and the citizens in general. “Since January, we have witnessed a series of CC decisions. I cannot says if they are correct or not, but in January the political players started to act depending on the CC decisions. At the beginning of the year, there were several decisions that didn’t advantage President Maia Sandu and ascents in polls followed immediately, with oscillations that exceeded 10%. Now we are witnessing an inverse phenomenon, when ex-President Igor Dodon suffered the effects after the last decisions of the Court. This fact generates opinion currents among the population. Moreover, all kinds of theses formulated by political players, including about foreign influence, enter this equation,” stated Doru Petruți.
He noted that the CC has always been perceived by the public as “creative” and permanently regarded as subordinated to or associated with a particular force. There are now strange interpretations among the population, including related to foreign interference and about the fact that the political struggle is fought on a number of fronts. There are also perceptions that the course was decided long ago and this is not decided by the people and politicians in Moldova. Also, there is the feeling that we are ready to produce a very pithy change. The situation is similar to that in Ukraine, where a terrible wave of emotions was generated by President Zelensky during a short period of time.
The public debate “About state of emergency in the country and at the Constitutional Court: motives, players, solutions” is the 184th installment of IPN’s project “Developing political culture through public debates” that is implemented with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.