Why has PDM ended up in opposition? IPN analysis

"The 9th Congress of the PDM was not like the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a "cleansing" one. Does the PDM need other 11 congresses or will it manage to say what it has to say and do what it has to do earlier? When and how will the brooms symbolically displayed by one of the congress delegates start working?...”

The 9th extraordinary Congress of the former ruling party, which took place last Saturday, had to answer the question posed in the title. At least this has been stated before the event, on a television show, by ex-prime minister Pavel Filip, elected as new PDM chairman. But the congress failed to provide a clear answer in this regard. The few attempts at a more or less honest answer were very timid and unconvincing. It is not surprising that they did not find any reflection in the final documents - the Political Statement and the Resolution of the Congress.

Approximate answers

The issue was given most space in the report presented by the interim chairman, Pavel Filip again, as well as in the speech of the honorary president Dumitru Diacov, but very little compared to the positive assessment given to the previous activity of the Party and the harsh criticism and accusations brought against the current government. "Why did we find ourselves in opposition with the highest electoral score in the entire history of the party?", the new leader of the PDM asked himself, after which he mentioned a series of "failures, mistakes that undermined our progress". Here are the most important of them, according to the two speakers:

- PDM did not respond to the party's demonization campaign;
- PDM did not react in a more resolute manner to the invalidation of the local elections in Chisinau, and the society interpreted that as if the PDM had been guilty in this case;
- PDM did not respond more firmly to the "billion crisis" (a term used instead of the well-established one - "the billion looting" - a.n.), because it respected the independence of law enforcement bodies, although they "procrastinated". This mistake had adverse effects on "the governance";
- Decisions in the PDM were taken by "1-2" persons, ignoring internal democracy;
- PDM had "rigid", "automatic" internal party relations, to the detriment of live communication, the relationship of the center with the territorial structures was alike.

"We communicated little and inefficiently, without fending off accusations brought against us...", concluded Filip Filip.

Between the "media war" and answering children's questions

Among the other speakers, only the deputy chairperson of the party and the Parliament, Monica Babuc, has tried to find internal reasons for the current situation of the PDM: "We have lost a media war", she said, in fact, bringing accusations against someone who would have waged such a "war" against the PDM. It seemed that the former minister and current PDM MP Vasile Bîtca started to look for an answer: "I don't understand why they tell us" thieves "," bandits "," go to prison! " I think those who have committed crimes should go there ... I have children and you have children - what can we tell them? Only, after this brief "lyrical" deviation, he resumed his speech about the past and future PDM achievements and merits, including those of Nisporeni district territorial organization headed by him.

But it is understandable that these speakers too, like the rest, intentionally avoided to formulate other reasons why, according to their own statements, the society was ready to vote at the elections for some PDM representatives, but not for the party as a whole.

Nothing about ...

Let’s admit that the speakers and all the delegates who voted for the final documents are completely right in everything they say about the "merits" of the PDM, and the "guilt and betrayal" of the current government, but also about their own recognized "mistakes". But, obviously, they did not talk about other "mistakes", much more relevant, since the time when they were in power and for which the party has to be held accountable to society, including by its ruling party position. For example, nothing has been said about endemic corruption and "unfair justice system", attested by international bodies and experienced the hard way by the society. In fact, nothing was mentioned about the bank fraud committed by unidentified perpetrators and left without being investigated for five years, or the debt which the PDM government has put on the citizens’ shoulders for decades to come. Nothing about the inhumanely expelled Turkish teachers not unbeknownst to but rather by the order of former government representatives in high positions. Nothing about Vlad Plahotniuc, whose name was never ever mentioned by any speaker during the three hours of the congress. Furthermore, no one said who were those "1 or 2 persons" and why were they allowed to make decisions outside the democratic mechanisms, in violation of the internal democracy and the principles of democratic communication within the party? Who is to blame for the fact that "during 17 years the society had no claims against the PDM" and only in the last years "mistakes have been made because of which PDM lost what it had"? Not to mention the suspicions circulating in the society, with or without media war, regarding the subordination of state institutions or even the "capture" of the state as a whole, in the interests of the "oligarchic groups", as the "European partners of the PDM" put it. No one explained why a new party chairman had to be elected, no one mentioned the name of the person who resigned from this position and the reasons for which he secretly left the country and is still hiding? And this despite the obvious need to close this chapter in the PDM history, one way or another. This was the suggestion made earlier on the same TV show by a qualified political analyst, apparently favourably disposed towards the PDM, but whose message has not been heeded.

Why an "unnatural" alliance instead of two "natural" ones?

In searching for the answer as to the reason of retreating into opposition, no one in the congress was able to ask out loud why, with the best electoral score in history, two-thirds of the society preferred to vote for parties other than the ruling one and most importantly, why did the other political actors in the Parliament prefer to form an "unnatural alliance" between themselves rather than one of the other two possible " more natural" alliances with the PDM? Perhaps the quest for an answer would have led to the question of what happened to all the former PDM partners, after they had formed government alliances with it. Without these and other clarifications, the process of restoring and cleansing of the PDM, announced as intended by the party, seems today, in the best case, incomplete and insincere.

The test of power

It seems that, previously, the current chairman of the PDM was closer to the answer when he suggested that one of the reasons for the current situation of the party was the harsh, even aggressive treatment of many things and many people. One cannot say exactly if he referred in this sense also to the pro-European parties that the PDM now accuses of "betraying the European cause", but the general perception is that these parties and especially their leaders, have been and remain the exclusive target of a hybrid, not just media war, which the PDM has been waging against them all the past years and with all its resources. Even at the "reset" congress the PDM did not admit to a confrontational, perhaps even cynical attitude in its relations with the European partners. One cannot even say for sure if the PDM would recognize at least from now on the "aggressive" pressure and strong interference on the unsubordinated media, but that is the general perception. The IPN agency could provide additional information in this regard, but only to persons from the PDM that have better intentions than those with whom it was obliged to get in contact with until now. And this is just to give a few examples of aggression and cynicism that are widespread in the public space.

The title question could be formulated even more completely and dramatically. "How come that a ruling party ended up in opposition despite obtaining the best electoral score in over 20 years of its history, and having benefited from the largest human, financial, administrative, media and technological resources, compared to any other party in the country's nearly 30-year history?”. One of the possible answers could be that the PDM, through its aggressive, even cynical, and insincere behavior, has not passed the test of power, which is known to "change people", but also parties. The metamorphosis is all the more explicable, it is about a party that wants to convince us that it is "centrist", "unifying", a "coagulant of forces in society", "a party without which the Republic of Moldova cannot exist.

Start or maneuver?

It seems, however, that some indirect signs have emerged, according to which the PDM is also aware of the actual mistakes and the actors who have "made more mistakes", and what to do in the longer run. The fact that Pavel Filip, who until now was less involved in the purely political activity of the PDM, has been elected as head of the party, and not one of the people closer to the former leader Vlad Plahotniuc, denotes a certain intention to change the image and the course of the party. Even the not very democratic fact that Pavel Filip had no contender for the chair position, shows how much has been staked on him by party forces that promoted him and wanted to insure against any kind of surprise in this regard. It is still unclear whether Filip was elected following a general consensus in the party or the position of a particular group prevailed and if so which one? At least based on the list of the new National Political Council in which practically all the prominent figures of yesterday's PDM have been included, one cannot make any conclusion in this regard.

Yet during the congress, there became clear the passage into the "shadow" of certain important former frontrunners of the party, such as Andrian Candu and Vladimir Cebotari, and the simultaneous putting forward of the former minister of the interior, MP Alexandru Jizdan, appointed on Saturday as secretary general of the party, as well as of Monica Babuc. But that could also be interpreted as a temporary maneuver.

Of course, the PDM elite deliberately chose to hold this way the extraordinary congress due to the exceptional situation in which the party found itself after retreating into opposition and after the sudden leave out of the country of its authoritarian leader. Probably it is expected that in this manner the ranks of the party, under enormous internal and external pressure, will be strengthened. Perhaps the party will proceed with the cleansing announced and expected by many at the next stage of party resetting, providing more clear answers to the question posed in the title. Anyway, the 9th Congress of the PDM was not the 20th Congress of the CPSU, which involved "cleansing" and "condemnation of the cult of personality". Will the PDM need 11 more congresses or will it be able to say earlier what it has to say and do what it has to do, in order to be believed and credited with new opportunities, the first of which being the local elections on October 20? When and how will the brooms symbolically displayed by one of the congress delegates start working?

Valeriu Vasilcă, IPN

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