on the organization of the debate “Snap parliamentary elections and/or replacement of Government: probability, risks, benefits”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 15 May 2020, Debate No.134 brought together: Democratic MP Alexandru Jizdan, secretary general of the Democratic Party; Ion Terguță, secretary general of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform” and IPN project’s standing expert Igor Boțan.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said that under the Constitution, Parliament, as an elected institution, has a four-year mandate. If the elections take place once in four years, they are ordinary. If the legislature’s mandate is interrupted for particular reasons, snap elections are held. There is now the tenth legislature, which means that ten legislative bodies have been elected since the adoption of the declarations of Sovereignty and Independence. Four compositions of Parliament were elected in snap elections. The first snap elections were held in February 1994, when Parliament dissolved itself. After the adoption of the Constitution in 1994, three rounds of snap parliamentary elections were held and they all were consequences of the legislature’s incapacity to choose the Head of State. After the Constitutional Court decision of 2016, by which the election of the President by the people was restored, this key reason that led to snap elections no longer existed.
According to the expert, together with this decision, snap parliamentary elections can be declared in two situations. The first situation is when Parliament, during three months, does not adopt laws and when this incapacity period expires, the Head of State dissolves Parliament and the Constitutional Court should verify the circumstances that justify the dissolution decision. Another situation is the resignation or removal of the Government and the Parliament’s incapacity to appoint a Government during 45 days of the first request and after at least two requests. In this case, the Constitutional Court is again the one that should examine the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament.
Igor Boțan reminded of the situation when a group of MPs asked the Constitutional Court to say if Parliament can dissolve itself, as it happened in 1993. The Court responded that this cannot and made reference to the fact that a proportional representation system was used at that time and the MPs who tendered their resignations were to be replaced with substitute candidates. The last Parliament was elected based on the mixed electoral system and half of the MPs were elected on party lists. New elections must be held in the case of the MPs elected in single-member constituencies. Until next March, snap parliamentary elections cannot take place and the current Parliament will thus exist for at least one more year, despite all its problems, given that the legislative body cannot be dissolved during the last half a year of the President’s term in office.
Democratic MP Alexandru Jizdan, secretary general of the Democratic Party, said the PDM does not want snap elections now and, as far as they see, no party wants such elections. “During a pandemic, in a difficult period for the Republic of Moldova, a governmental crisis would affect many processes and the economic state in the country. That’s why we do not want snap elections and are ready to communicate with all the partners. We want our colleagues to finally accept this mature, very responsible political dialogue. We, the Democratic Party, also expect to be respected in these discussions,” he stated, noting that the PDM waited for such a dialog last year too, when the Sandu Government was dismissed.
According to him, they have a feeling of déjà vu as attempts are being made to find a scapegoat for all the country’s problems. On the other hand, none of the leaders of the parties of the right came to the PDM to discuss. “Nobody presented a plan for overcoming the crisis and the fact that there are many persons with experience, including political and governmental one, in the PDM is omitted. We have our position and consider that the country can make progress only when there is stability. We remember the period when five governments were replaced during a year. While in power in 2016-2019, we managed to do almost nothing during the first year, in 2016. Later, after stability was ensured, we started to do things. That’s why we do not want a political crisis. If someone wants to really discuss with us, we demand only one thing – to be respected,” stated Alexandru Jizdan.
The MP noted that the PDM is ready to discuss with MPs of the ACUM Bloc. “I mentioned political maturity because I saw not much political maturity in the summer of 2019, when effort was made to remove Plahotniuc and they succeeded. They now want to remove Igor Dodon. I have the impression that next year we will have other targets, to remove someone else. We do not agree with such approaches. We want to build something in this country, not only to destroy,” he said.
Ion Terguță, secretary general of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform”, said that his party is definitely for snap elections, but these are not possible from legal viewpoint and things thus become more difficult. The PPPDA considers the snap parliamentary elections are the best solution. “To ultimately get rid of the current Government that is the emanation of the oligarchic state and that was formed in absolutely illegal conditions, and you know very well in what conditions this Parliament was elected, and it simply does not have sufficient resources to complete its duties, we have to now find methods to extend this period as an elastic band so as to reach the legal terms when snap elections are possible,” stated Ion Terguță.
According to him, President Igor Dodon now knows very well that there are two former partners of his who count his days. “These are Plahotniuc and Shor. We see this dispute on TV every day, with more direct and terrible threats and the snap elections are the only solution for Dodon. The Party of Socialists surely wants them. They are now on the peak. The economic crisis hasn’t yet developed and the pandemic crisis also didn’t reach its apogee. Certainly, this is the best moment for elections for the Party of Socialists. In the case of the Democratic Party, they are not beneficial as the PDM is afraid of solutions and this party is now stretched to the limit, like an elastic band, and cracks from all sides,” noted Ion Terguță.
He also said that Vlad Plahotniuc and Ilan Shor use different resources to change the configuration in Parliament, as they did in the previous legislative body. “Our failure is the fact that we didn’t manage to use the declaration on the usurpation of state power when we were in power. That was probably the worst moment in the government of the ACUM Bloc as those situations were allowed to perpetuate. Igor Dodon didn’t invent them. Igor Dodon developed them and, even if this is strange, he does this with the support of the Democratic Party. When the Democratic Party realizes that it took the whole network and instruments from one dictator to another, who is called Igor Dodon, we will have what to discuss with the PDM. The Democratic Party should abandon all the instruments and practices used in the past,” he stated.
The Agency published 7 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 15.05.20, „Snap parliamentary elections and/or replacement of Government: probability, risks, benefits. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/snap-parliamentary-elections-andor-replacement-of-government-probability-risks-8004_1073544.html; „Ion Terguță says why Chicu Government should be dismissed” - https://www.ipn.md/en/ion-terguta-says-why-chicu-government-should-be-dismissed-8004_1073547.html; „Alexandru Jizdan: We are ready to discuss with MPs of ACUM Bloc” - https://www.ipn.md/en/alexandru-jizdan-we-are-ready-to-discuss-with-mps-of-8004_1073548.html; „Ion Terguță: Parliament does not have sufficient resources to complete its duties” - https://www.ipn.md/en/ion-terguta-parliament-does-not-have-sufficient-resources-to-complete-8004_1073549.html; „Alexandru Jizdan: It is much easier to remove a Government than to form another one” - https://www.ipn.md/en/alexandru-jizdan-it-is-much-easier-to-remove-a-government-8004_1073550.html; „Igor Boțan: Snap parliamentary elections cannot take place until next March” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-snap-parliamentary-elections-cannot-take-place-until-next-8004_1073551.html; „Igor Boțan: Chances of naming new Government are very slim” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-chances-of-naming-new-government-are-very-slim-8004_1073554.html.
IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN