“Shall we continue same way?” How will political marriage between PSRM and Gagauzia survive snap elections. Op-Ed by Veaceslav Craciun



Gagauzia’s experience in lobbying for the interests of the region before the central authorities is too insignificant and its inhabitants follow the same circle of hope and political exasperation...


Veaceslav Craciun

There is practically no time left until the snap parliamentary elections and this reveals the subject of eventual coalitions and alliances between the political forces. The leader of the Party of Socialists (PSRM) already started consultations with the potential allies from the left. In such circumstances, the Autonomous Territorial Unit (ATU) can manifest itself not as a political force, but as a political partisan of the PSRM, which played a significant role in the political accomplishments of Igor Dodon.

Affection out of interest

For most of the inhabitants of the region, the issue of elections during many years has been solved simply and politely: for Dodon, for the Socialists. It is not an ideological, but a pragmatic choice. It is a kind of alliance “out of interest” that is based on the principle “we give you votes, you protect our interests”. For the PSRM, this political marriage “out of interest” turned out to be rather advantageous, while the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections held in the region are a convincing relevant example.

As regards the efficiency of the “business” for the ATU, there are differing opinions on the issue. The representatives of the Socialists can immediately enumerate several adopted decisions and about ten rejected bills and also a number of Government decisions referring to the region’s interests in the periods during which the party had influence on the executive. Overall, this is considerably less than the residents of the ATU would like to see.

This way or another, despite the skeptical nuances in the disposition of the Gagauz community, an alternative to the Socialists hasn’t been yet found. Those who could claim “the role of new allies of Gagauz-Yeri” show indifference to the region or unawareness of the needs and particularities, even at the level of statements, and therefore do not enjoy the locals’ trust.

Shall we continue the same way?

At first sight, there are now no reasons for reexamining the political alliance of the Socialists with Gagauzia and only a trivial thing remained: on the eve of the snap elections, Igor Dodon will have a ritual meeting with Bashkan Irina Vlah (for image, it would be better to have it with several dozen “representatives of society”), a common appearance for the press and similar steps on the established path towards a coordinated campaign and a predictable majority of votes of the Gagauz people in favor of the party.

It would be a satisfactory scenario for the Socialists, but this is not enough given the current higher stakes. Igor Dodon should maintain the positions in Parliament at any cost so as to keep the influence on the formation of the Government. This means he will want to extract up to the last vote from Gagauzia, as an electoral reserve.

The ex-President will not manage to do this by only formally extending the alliance with the administration of the region. First of all, the region during the last few years has shown particular dissatisfaction with Socialists’ actions. Also, the possibilities of the authorities of Gagauz-Yeri to mobilize the voters are not unlimited. Convincing arguments are needed so as to bring the disappointed population to the polls. These should be much more convincing than the current arguments ”that they are against NATO and the Union”. This moment can be used by the political administration of the region to set a series of priorities that they would try to achieve with the political guarantee of the Socialists.

If we admit that the results of the parliamentary elections would enable the PSRM to take part in the constitution of the Cabinet, how will the probable territorial-administrative reform impact Gagauzia? Will the local division of the Tax Inspectorate for Gagauzia be restored? Assuming concrete commitments like these (if we leave aside the places on the party list for elections, even if this will matter), with figures, calculations and commitments to introduce these promises into the future negotiations on the formation of the parliamentary majority, the Socialists will attract particular attention and will keep their image of political ally of the region. If they limit the agenda to the Gagauz voters basing on the “protection from the NATO tanks” and “traditional values”, Dodon’s party will show that it does not deserve a serious approach.

Lobbing in Gagauz style

It is not at all easy to say if Igor Dodon is ready to undertake serious commitments before the ATU. For now, the problem of updating of their political agreement with the region’s administration is preceded by another one. Gagauzia’s experience in lobbying for the interests of the region before the central authorities is too insignificant and its inhabitants follow the same circle of hope and political exasperation. New rules could be adopted amid the development of the Gagauz political class, namely with the appearance of new players – political parties that, according to the Constitutional Court’s decision, can be registered even if they have representative offices in only several districts.

The political party attached to the region that can mobilize a maximum number of votes for the Socialists will be able to fix the promises made by the ally from the left and to also resort to pressure for having them fulfilled. Any district of the country would like to have the regional interests promoted in such a way. Gagauz-Yeri has more such possibilities, but practically does not use them.

Veaceslav Craciun
Publicist Veaceslav Craciun completed master’s degree courses at the University of European Studies of Moldova, specializing in international law. Professional interests: regionalism, political processes in ATU Gagauzia, the region’s relations with the central authorities of the Republic of Moldova.

IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.

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