Rescuing fissure of PDM. IPN analysis

“Vladimir Plahotniuc practically didn’t hold state posts and this means that what he allegedly did wrong in the Republic of Moldova was done with the involvement or with the approval and silent consent of many of his former party mates, not only of the close ones who distanced themselves or were distanced from the PDM...”

An important fissure occurred inside the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) last week. Six MPs left the Democratic Party and its parliamentary group. Three of these earlier played central parts in this party, even very central ones. These include a former Parliament Speaker (Andrian Candu), a former minister in different configurations of the Government (Vladimir Cebotari) and a former mouthpiece of the PDM, especially in legal issues (Sergiu Sîrbu), all the three vice presidents of the PDM until recently. The very important role played by the PDM until now in Moldova’s fate and the role it can play in the future in the country’s political configuration justify the special attention devoted to the internal processes of the PDM given that insufficient information is leaked from inside the party to understand what is happening there in reality and what the repercussions of these processes for the sociopolitical life in the country can be.   

Two sides of the conflict

As in any situation of conflict, until now we have two declared contradictory positions about the reasons for such a fissure.

Those who left accuse those who remained of forming a coalition with the ruling Party of Socialists and of departure from the country’s path of European integration. At the same time, the six MPs give signs that they would like to come closer to the pro-European parliamentary opposition parties of the ACUM Bloc.

Those who remained, in particular the current administration of the PDM, accuse the six “dissidents” of not accepting internal party democracy by which they were stripped of the posts of vice president and of being implicated „in a game that is not it belongs to them”, making it clear that the fissure was “orchestrated” by the former leader of the Democratic Party Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is outside the country and who recently got the nickname “diaspora”.

Insufficiently convincing arguments

But both of the announced positions are insufficiently convincing for explaining such a radical decision taken by the six MPs, especially amid the reformation of the PDM.

On the one hand, the reason invoked by the “Candu group” for leaving is not really convincing as, while the members of this group held key posts in the PDM, the party had close relations with the PSRM and President Igor Dodon, who are suspected of being “pro-Russian”. The relations with the “non-Europeans” were much closer than with the pro-Europeans from the ACUM Bloc, the relations with which were only hostile during the past few years. This behavior was the most relevant in the presidential elections of 2016, when all the media cannons of the PDM fired exclusively at Maia Sandu. It was then said that the local bodies of the Democrats also received strict instructions to support Igor Dodon, even if the “center” told something else in public. More recently, they say that namely Andrian Candu was the initiator of the no-confidence motion against the pro-European Government of Maia Sandu.

On the other hand, it is not very clear why the “diaspora”, if he played a role in this “divorce”, chose only these six MPs and didn’t give more serious blows to the party so as to punish those who started to “re-set” the party where they said the decisions were earlier taken by one person? A lot was written and said about the practically unlimited capacities of “that person” to influence people and things in the Republic of Moldova. In particular, a lot was written and said about the activated and non-activated criminal cases as an instrument for ensuring the reliability of many persons, including those that were very close to the former leader. 

The insufficiently convincing arguments stated by the sides separately become even more unconvincing in the case of a direct confrontation. For example, the discussion between Andrian Candu and Dumitru Diacov on Pro TV channel last week seemed more to be a ceremonial dance intended for the public than a debate between two opponents, if not political rivals. For sure, it wasn’t about the behavioral correctness of the two interlocutors as it is known that when the two consider it rational, they can be ironical and quizzical, harsh and even impertinent. Definitely, the two know a lot of things about each other and about many other Democratic functionaries and, if this information is made public, it will destroy not only the image of political figures. But that information wasn’t made public and will most probably not be made public.

Where is the interest hidden

In such a situation, there is place and there is a need for other interpretations of the split inside the PDM than those provided by the sides.

One of the probable versions is that the fissure was planned eventually by the same “scriptwriter” or other scriptwriters so as to give more credibility to the “reformation”, “re-setting”, “cleaning” of the PDM.

Indeed, by the distancing from the party of the several persons who were supposedly very close to Vladimir Plahotniuc, whose “head” is wanted by many people and not only from the political world, they obtain a visible effect of “deplahotniucization” of the PDM. Society could be only told about the end of the process of re-setting the party. The suggestion was made by Andrian Candu himself, who announced publicly that he consulted his leaving with Vladimir Plahotniuc, and Candu cannot be suspected of saying imprudent things. At the same time, the “Candu group”, which already speaks about a projected new party, remains deep rooted in Moldovan politics and has real instruments for influencing the given politics. Can someone say that this move does not look like the placing of the same eggs in two different baskets?

This allegation can anger someone who really wants the PDM to be reformed. But the anger will not be justified as long as there are no real proofs of the re-setting. If at least a part of the accusations made against Vladimir Plahotniuc and the Democratic Party are true, in particular about the capture of state institutions, involvement in the bank fraud and in many other different schemes, fabrication of criminal cases against politicians and businessmen, the PDM cannot clean itself up without admitting “mea culpa” publicly and without really getting rid or more or even a lot of implicated persons.

Mea culpa as a proof of “deplahotniucization”

The call to admit “mea culpa” is not mandatorily out of bad intention. It was recently made even from inside the PDM, from the central executive bodies of the party. According to the press, former Democratic MP Veaceslav Nedelea accepted particular blame for a definite case of fabrication of one of the political cases announced recently by Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo: “38 political cases declared by the prosecutor general. I, today, at the meeting of the National Political Council of the PDM, by a public speech asked that our parliamentary group should assume publicly responsibility for those 38 political cases. Personally, I assume responsibility – I was a coward. I didn’t have courage, but I could have protected a friend. But I didn’t have the guts. And this system destroyed him,” stated Veaceslav Nedelea, who heads the PDM’s local organization in Chisinau.

Again: if at least a small part of the accusations made against the former Democratic leader and the PDM are true, without “mea culpa” or the “self-punishment” of the party and of many of its heavyweights, the assurances about the reformation of the party will not be very valuable. Vladimir Plahotniuc practically didn’t hold state posts and this means that what he allegedly did wrong in the Republic of Moldova was done with the involvement or with the approval and silent consent of many of his former party mates, not only of the close ones who distanced themselves or were distanced from the PDM.

Valeriu Vasilică, IPN

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