Three diagnoses made for November 30 elections

IPN analysis. The parliamentary elections do not represent only the percentage accumulated by the contenders on the election day. The recent election campaign revealed a number of particularities that characterize our society, which the new Government should take account of. In fact, the people should also pay attention to them.

The elections took place and their main intrigue - whether the current pro-European coalition will remain in power or not – was solved in their favor. While the winners are holding negotiations to agree the new format of their association and to divide the governmental portfolios, a number of important aspects remained in the shadow of the public opinion and it would be a mistake to ignore them.

‘Russian belt’

The electoral geography of the past elections was interesting. The parties supporting the eastern development course obtained an average majority all over the country, starting with the districts Falesti, Sangerei, and Floresti. A specific, ‘pro-Russia’ belt was created in the southern region Gagauzia and in the districts Taraclia and Basarabeasca. The central part of the country and Chisinau voted for the pro-European parties.

In most of the districts, the number of votes obtained by the supporters of one foreign course or the other does not exceed two thirds. There is a certain contrast only in Gagauzia, where the Eastern course was supported by over 80% of the voters. In fact, the results of these elections in the autonomous unit were similar to those of the scandalous referendum held this February, when 98% of the Gagauz voters disputed the official course to the EU set by the Moldovan Government. The critics of the local referendum spoke then about the virtual character of the results and possible falsifications. But the November 30 elections confirmed that the realities in Gagauzia are different from the national ones.

Currently, Gagauzia distinguishes itself not only as an autonomous unit with special powers, but also by its political orientation. This is a territory where the population thinks in a different way and has its own goals, including related to the foreign policy. Such a state of affairs should make the central authorities think about a very complicated and even dangerous matter – the state loyalty of the local population. This is a situation when the image of the leader of another state becomes the most important argument for choosing an option for the absolute majority of the population of the region. This is a not at all positive diagnosis for the central authorities. And the new Government will have to take this into account.

The policy that will be pursued towards Gagauzia is another issue, but it is absolutely evident that the neglect of this problem can have serious consequences for the state.

National interests and world destinies

The last elections were perceived mainly in the context of the struggle between the two development paths – the European one and the Russian one. Moreover, we can say that the West and the East struggled for influence on Moldova, while the Moldovans made their choice amid this geopolitical struggle. The contenders devoted the largest part of their electoral activities to this theme.

Consequently, the foreign policy practically shadowed all the other themes concerning the internal policy that are basic in the electoral struggle in the same European states.

Were there many discussions about the priorities and imperfections of the tax system? Who discussed the program to support the small and medium-sized businesses seriously? Or did somebody speak about the necessity of improving the legislation on the protection of consumer rights? Instead of assessing the projects to internally improve our society, we easily became involved in discussions about the world geopolitics and the destinies of Europa and Russia.  

Surely, we will not detach ourselves from the geopolitical factor. But the fact that we used up for it all out attention is a diagnosis for our political culture and a proof that we cannot appropriately appreciate our national interests.

Only one thing gives reasons for joy – that they didn’t raise the issue of national self-determination in these elections, of which almost everyone is tired. Nobody also fueled the interminable discussions on the linguistic issue. Anyway, this is progress.

Last chance

The pro-European parties preserved the power and this is indisputably their political victory. But in electoral sense, they suffered a defeat. A simple calculation shows that if we add the votes given to the Communist Reformists, the Bloc “Moldova’s Choice – the Customs Union” and some of the anti-Europeans parties, which didn’t pass the election threshold, to those won by the Socialists and the Communists, the picture will be different. If we also add the tens of thousands of invalid ballots given to ‘Renato Usatyi’, the scales will incline in favor of the Eastern course.

The election results seem even more discouraging for the authorities because they were achieved after five years of government during which they had all the possibilities to convince the people that the pro-European policy should be a priority. But the main contribution to the won victory was made not by the efficient government of the country, but by the political instruments used to exert influence on the political opponents. Not by the justice secretor reform, but by the creation of the clone of the PCRM. Not by the fight against corruption, but by the division of the pro-Russian voters. Not by guaranteeing the freedom of the media, but by excluding a popular election runner from the ballot.

The limited legitimacy of the new-old power represents a diagnosis of its professionalism and competence, of its political will and (ir)responsibility towards the population. Like it or not, but the pro-European parties got another chance to convince the population, during the next four years, of the importance of their goals and of their ability to achieve them. If they do not manage to do this, there is no certainty that the political methods will work in the next elections as well.

Veaceslav Craciun, IPN

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