“For these reasons, the new administration must also take into account the likelihood of bad times looming over its grand plans. That is why, in order to secure popular support, PAS should act fairly, in accordance with the law, and should avoid creating and reinforcing reprehensible precedents...”
The Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) administration is in a hurry to convince citizens that the good times have already arrived. The good times started when the Parliament convened in an extraordinary session and began to dismantle the legacy of previous administrations and to rebuild state institutions. It is somewhat natural for this to happen. However, the actions of the new administration are not the only things that count. The manner in which the new administration does things also matters. PAS's lack of experience, for the time being, will shape its activity. In this context, PAS's first steps, which are in violation of the transparency norms in decision-making and legislative procedures, represent an extremely worrying signal.
While responding to criticisms concerning the committed violations, PAS representatives roll their eyes and act surprised that their noble intentions are not understood. As if previous governments did not have noble intentions. The citizens know that previous parties also had noble intentions, which is why they voted them into power; however, the results have been disastrous. PAS talking points in favor of ignoring the rules of transparency in decision-making are quite curious - it reminds of the previous socialist Parliament majority, which in December 2020 rushed through a series of important laws. It is curious that PAS is consciously allowing itself to pick up the damning experience of its predecessors, knowing that half of the rushed laws were subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court (CC). By the way, the CC has already accustomed us to declaring unconstitutional the legislative acts adopted in violation of the prescribed procedures!
Therefore, right from the beginning of the so-called good times, PAS seems to have set out to convince us that, in fact, it cannot detach itself from the reflexes conditioned by the perennial interests of the Moldovan political class. In this context, the similarity between the actions of the new and old administrations are striking. Administrations change, but their mores remain unchanged. PAS has decided to pay tribute to tradition by deliberately treading on the same rakes as its predecessors. The question is whether we can expect different results from the same kind of actions?
To be fair, following criticism, PAS representatives assured the public that debates and consultations, which were to be held before the inclusion of the bills on the extraordinary session agenda, will be held before the inclusion of the bills on the agenda in the second reading.
Dear administration, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean
There is no doubt that the legacy received by the new administration, especially the quality of law and regulatory institutions, is more of a burden than a valuable asset. However, the PAS administration's haste in moving to reform the institutions is eroding much of the reputation that is just beginning to take shape. It is true that without effective institutions good times will never come to Moldova. But instead of thoughtful actions based on a clear concept of the great clean-up, we have all witnessed a series of sporadic actions accompanied by threats against the heads and employees of a number of institutions.
In normal circumstances, one would expect that the new governance would develop performance assessing criteria for institutions at the outset and would apply them in a competent manner so that no one would question their conclusiveness and effectiveness. This was not the case! In great haste, the head of state and a couple of PAS MPs launched an attack on the Prosecutor's Office and on the prosecutor general, alerting public opinion. Following the attack, a draft amendment to the law on the Prosecutor's Office was registered. The new administration's intentions were also highlighted by Prime Minister Natalia Gavriliță, who urged the members of her cabinet of ministers to be the prosecutors of their subordinate institutions during the great clean-up process.
In these circumstances, the response of the Prosecutor's Office was swift and in line with the actions of the new administration. The Prosecutor's Office replied that the administration was incompetent and liable for punishment, which served as a reminder that those who point fingers should have their hands clear. This reaction raises concerns because it shows that antagonism preceded the institution performance assessing process, which heralds a long-standing confrontation between the administration and autonomous state institutions. The rationale and the consistency of actions are important because they condition whether the actions are supported or rejected. We can therefore only note that what could have been done in an acceptable manner - the reasoned imposition of performance evaluation on institutions - was done in a hurry and in a roundabout way. Thus, for the time being, the new administration does not appear to be more competent than the institutions it wishes to reform.
PAS started its governance by stepping on old and new rakes. But there is no evil without good. If PAS admits its blunders, it has plenty of time to fix them and to implement its governing program.
Whether good times will come depends not only on the competence and coherence of the actions of the new administration, but also on a number of objective factors: the evolution of the pandemic crisis; the effects of climate change on agriculture; energy prices; the international and regional economic situation, etc. For these reasons, the new administration must also take into account the likelihood of bad times looming over its grand plans. That is why, in order to secure popular support, PAS should act fairly, in accordance with the law, and should avoid creating and reinforcing reprehensible precedents.
Citizens, naturally, should continue to wait for the good times they voted for to come. It will be appropriate to talk about good times when: pensions and salaries will be able to provide citizens with a decent standard of living; the economy will pick up the projected speed and develop new capacities for growth; citizens' rights and culture development levels will allow Moldova to shed its status of an underdeveloped agrarian province of Europe; young people will prefer to stay in Moldova and build their professional careers here, etc. Thus, we are still a long way from seeing the good times coming. However, we must act in a consolidated way in the right direction.