Denouement of political crisis is near? or Fish tail as national symbol

IPN analysis: „… the solving of the crisis situation as quickly  as possible corresponds to the political interests of the majority, if not of all the political players involved in this crisis. The perpetuation of the crisis weakens everyone’s political interests and positions”.

There are now insufficient signs that the political crisis in Moldova is close to its denouement. The signs do not clearly show yet if it will have the form of a parliamentary majority or of early legislative elections. But the fact that the end of the crisis is not far is evident.

Noteworthy signs of ‘the start of the end’

Among the visible indications are first of all President Nicolae Timofti’s request to the parliamentary factions to identity a common candidate for premiership by April 5, followed by the common vote of the factions of the former AEI for naming the Liberal Party MP Victor Popa as a Constitutional Court judge. Such a vote in such a situation and amid such relations between the components of the former AEI could not have appeared accidentally and without preliminary mutual consultations and imposition of conditions. These consultations and negotiations didn’t focus on one post only, even if of Constitutional Court judge. The bone of contention is now the position of Prime Minister, namely that held now by acting Premier Vald Filat. We can draw the conclusion that the PLDM, PDM and PL have already reached certain agreements in this respect or are close to reaching them in the near future, if taking into account the head of state’s request. Otherwise, the PLDM wouldn’t have given most of the votes for Victor Popa after expressing its skepticism about this candidate of the Liberals. We can presume that the Liberals promised something instead to the Lib-Dems, who are now preoccupied only with the post of Prime Minister. Thus, the balance inclines towards a new parliamentary majority and a new Government.  

The second variant of ‘the start of the end’

However, on March 29, when the MPs voted unanimously in Parliament, the acting Premier paid one more visit that was evidently electoral in character, this time to Straseni district. It was announced as a one-day working visit, to which the Premier has the right, but in the current situation things should be regarded through the angle of a possible election campaign. This visit was either scheduled beforehand and couldn’t be postponed or cancelled or the agreements we mentioned above didn’t exist. Thus, the early legislative elections remain a possible denouement of the crisis.

Regardless of the denouement, things will become clear rather soon because the solving of the crisis situation as quickly as possible corresponds to the political interests of the majority, if not of all the political players involved in this crisis. The perpetuation of the crisis weakens everyone’s political interests and positions.

Both the power and the opposition have interests

In this state of uncertainty, none of the components of the former AEI are able to rule at full extent and to fully benefit from the political or other advantages offered by the power. Time is ticking away and the tenure is expiring. If the new government is formed not very quickly, they will be unable to enjoy political and other kind of advantages to full extent, including the possible benefits of being in power as a result of the 2014 ordinary elections, following the confrontation with the current associates and the powerful Communist opposition. The Communist opposition is not interested in waiting for the 2014 ordinary elections given that it can gain benefits one year and a half earlier, given the way paved by the parties of the former AEI  by their quarrels. The PCRM does not want to wait because time can erode the potential of its platform of mass protests against the AEI government, which is named the Civic Congress, as it eroded after 2011. It is now hard to say how active this Congress will be at the end of 2014.

Political allies-opponents with common interests

The interest of solving the crisis as quickly as possible is great in the relations between the PLDM, PDM and PL, but different in size.

By its inflexible position of proposing Filat for premiership, the PLDM is determined to clarify the situation one way or another, but as soon as possible. The Lib-Dems show they are ready for both of the variants. The vote for Victor Popa and the visit to Straseni are only sufficiently convincing examples in this respect, given on one day. However, an election campaign, even if unannounced, but long-lasting, will significantly erode the forces of the PLDM. It is not accidental that the PLDM last week insisted on the adoption in Parliament of its legislative initiative by which criminal punishment is instituted for the buying of voters. The politicians probably know better who ‘sins’ more with such kinds of ‘sale-purchase acts’ and take steps to put them in a more delicate situation in the next elections.

The PDM wants the situation to be clarified swiftly because it cannot adequately benefit from governance given that the leader of the associate-opponent party PLDM Vlad Filat has access to the political-administrative resources, as I earlier said ‘until the end of the world’. Moreover, with the passing of time, the Democrats become more vulnerable because they can lose even their fewer resources. In this respect, the PLDM holds Damocles’ sword above Speaker Marian Lupu because it dependents on them when and if the PCRM’s initiative to dismiss the Head of Parliament is accepted. Certainly, they will vote in favor only if early legislative elections take place and this would be the first action in the election campaign.

On March 5, when the Filat Government fell in a no-confidence vote, the Liberal leader Mihai Ghimpu said he will seek the dismissal of President Nicolae Timofti if he intentionally delays the process of overcoming the political crisis. The head of state decides whom to suggest for premiership and when. Only by proposing a candidate can the formation of the new Government or the dissolution of the legislative body be initiated. As in the case of the PCRM, the PL believes that they are more popular with the voters, their own at least. This potential can also erode however, if it’s not realized in a veritable and near election campaign.

Head of state between threats and ultimatums

Besides having the power to hasten the identification of solutions to the crisis, President Nicolae Timofti has political and other kinds of interests to exert this power. One of the interests was mentioned above. His personal position and the care for the state institution that he heads do not allow him to delay the identification of solutions. According to his statements concerning the country’s and his own pro-European option, he is simply obliged to do everything for Moldova to swiftly overcome this state of political instability. Only a new, very quickly installed Government, either as a result of re-forming the AEI or of early elections, will be able to recover at least something so that the country catches the last train to the Vilnius Summit of November and remains in the EU’s view with accession prospects, even if rather distant ones. Supposedly, when setting the April 5 deadline, which some of the politicians called an ultimatum, the head of state took into account the agreements concerning the resumption of the coalition relations by the three parties or the lack of such agreements and of prospects to reach them. That’s why he assumed a part of the risk and responsibility for hastening the identification of solutions so as to achieve more important goals.  

’Fish tail’ as a national symbol

There is no hastening in fact if taking into account that almost 30 days already passed since the Government was dismissed. There will be another 45 days until the possible dissolution of Parliament, if the Premier is not appointed, plus over 60 days of election campaign in case of early elections. It will be five months lost. Not much time will remain for preparations for the Vilnius Summit. A new election campaign with all the relevant consequences and responsibilities will start. The ‘fish tail’ that resulted from the efforts made by the former AEI components to rule the country risks becoming a national symbol for a long period ahead.

Valeriu Vasilică, IPN

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