Power and opposition... Op-Ed by Victor Pelin

“The main conclusion we reach is that to have a good government, we need to have a very good opposition, but this is not the case, at least for now. However, we should not despair. Even PAS itself showed how swiftly an extraparliamentary opposition can become a ruling party...”

Starting with August 6, 2021, the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) has held overall power in the Republic of Moldova. The PAS team persevered during five years until its victory. It’s true that the success of PAS is due to incredibly fortunate circumstances. It was impossible to believe that the executive coordinator Vlad Plahotniuc in a critical moment will flee the country, abandoning his party mates. Moreover, he took the main executor of the billion theft Ilan Shor with him so that this does not make statements before judges.

PAS was once again lucky as it turned out that another opponent - the leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) Igor Dodon – lacks any capacity as an independent political leader.  It turned out that the leader of PSRM was unable to promote himself either under the protection of Vladimir Voronin, when the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) held full power in the state, or under the protection of Vlad Plahotniuc, who managed to become the executive coordinator of the power after Voronin was removed from power. Without the support or a protector or coordinator, the leader of PSRM showed his incapacity to implement political projects alone. Indeed, Vladimir Voronin brought Dodon to politics and took him to the top of the pyramid of power, up to the post of Deputy Prime Minister, while Plahotniuc took him upper, installing him as President by manipulating the Constitutional Court and through the agency of the media propaganda of his holding.

Two consecutive betrayals by the leader of the PSRM – of Voronin in 2011 and of Plahotniuc in 2019 - revealed that Igor Dodon cannot cope without the protection of persons who outstrip him by charisma and management. In the absence of Plahotniuc’s assistance, the leader of PSRM lost the competition to Maia Sandu, both for the post of President and for blocking the triggering of the snap parliamentary elections that he caused himself when he persuaded ex-Premier Ion Chicu to resign so as to free the way for snap parliamentary elections. With such a political opponent as Igor Dodon, PAS didn’t need allies and refused to form an electoral alliance with other pro-European parties. The irony of fate is that Igor Dodon himself needed an electoral alliance in the parliamentary elections. To compensate the lack of support on the part of Plahotniuc, Igor Dodon asked for forgiveness for the act of betrayal committed in 2011  from the other benefactor of his, Vladimir Voronin. This way, there was formed the electoral bloc of PSRM and PCRM, at least for neutralizing the acid criticism leveled by Voronin at Dodon. Furthermore, the leader of PSRM had the occasion of showing once again that you cannot step into the same river twice – the glory years of PCRM, when Dodon was a good executor of the political orders of Voronin, can no longer be restored.

This way, PAS seized full power, controlling the Presidential Administration and the Government and having a comfortable parliamentary majority. Nevertheless, the dangers faced by the PAS government that lacks experience are huge event if this enjoys the support of most of the citizens and development partners. The socioeconomic situation in the country is precarious. There is an acute shortage of qualified staff. In general, there is a national shortage of the labor force needed for implementing the projects of the PAS government. A new wave of COVID-19 cases is expected, etc. But the most serious danger to the PAS government emerges from inside it, especially after PAS announced that it will launch the big cleanup in the law enforcement and regulatory agencies. The truth is the good intention of PAS reminds us of the maximum power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The experience we lived the past 30 years didn’t leave room for doubts about the aforementioned truth.  Only a competent and combative power can be the main obstacle to the corruption of power. Regrettably, the current parliamentary opposition is confused, demoralized and quasi-fully compromised by the behavior of one if its leaders and of the propagandists who lack imagination.

In the given context, it is hard to believe that the opposition consisting of MPs of the Shor Party, PSRM and PCRM can inspire confidence and hope for the future. The Shor Party will survive as long as the network of social stores that fuel the myth about noble thieves who steal to also give to the many and the needy survives. As to the PSRM-PCRM bloc, things are as gloomy. The leaders of this bloc already had been in power and, in the period,  hotels were privatized illegally, monopolies were established on the import of fish and meat right under the protection of the royal house under the Presidential Administration, etc. The effect was that from the monopoly on fish and meat, things degenerated into fishing with trawl nets  and shooting of animals with guns with sights, probably in order to make tushonka.

The main conclusion we reach is that to have a good government, we need to have a very good opposition, but this is not the case, at least for now. However, we should not despair. Even PAS itself showed how swiftly an extraparliamentary opposition can become a ruling party.

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