How strong is the right-left coalition in Moldova?
Coalition PM Sandu on plans for Moldova’s future
Analysts from Chisinau provide conflicting assessments of the stability of the union of pro-Kremlin socialists and the pro-Western bloc ACUM
On Monday, June 24, it became known that the leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, announced his retirement from politics. According to him, he left the post of head of the party so that his supporters would not become “targets of attacks” by the new government coalition. It was formed by the pro-Russian Socialist Party headed by the President of the Republic Igor Dodon, as well as the pro-European bloc ACUM, whose leader is the current Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu. Plahotniuc himself urgently left for the UK last week
The correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” asked the Moldovan experts how viable the current right-left coalition can be and whether Russia will be able to influence the foreign policy of the country.
The coincidence of interests of the USA, EU and Russia
Moldovan political scientist Nikolay Chirtoaca believes that neither the socialists nor the right from the ACUM bloc are preparing for early elections yet. This right-left coalition unites the program of “deoligarchization” of Moldova. “That is, we are witnessing the dismantling of the system that Plahotniuc created and managed alone in our country. By the way, he made a statement that he was leaving the post of chairman of the Democratic Party, which is now in opposition, ”he emphasizes..
The interlocutor of the Russian service “Voice of America” believes that this situation has developed because the short-term interests of Russia, the European Union and the United States in the territory of the Republic of Moldova coincided. These interests were precisely in the removal of Plahotniuc from power. “This created the preconditions for the creation of a seemingly completely abnormal coalition between the Party of Socialists, which received 35% in the parliamentary elections, with a clear geopolitical orientation towards the east, and the ACUM bloc. The members of this bloc have always stated that the main task of Moldova is integration into the European Union, as well as the development of a strategic partnership with the United States, “Nicolae Chirtoaca emphasizes..
The expert recalled the words of the President of Moldova Igor Dodon that the coalition of ACUM and socialists may well hold out until the next parliamentary elections. This will happen if both sides abandon their foreign policy rhetoric and focus on resolving Moldova’s national interests. “That is, to maintain the current vector, which consists in maintaining relations with both Russia and the West as a whole,” the expert explains..
“We should expect an intensification of the Russian political presence”
Political commentator Cornel Churya drew attention to the fact that representatives of the ACUM bloc publicly announced the temporary nature of cooperation with the socialists. At the same time, Igor Dodon’s associates say that the coalition with the pro-Europeans can hold out after the parliamentary elections..
“It is now impossible to predict how long this coalition will last. It is clear that the foreign policy vectors of the ACUM and the socialists have the opposite direction. Therefore, this union is unlikely to last more than six months. It is no coincidence that the main political forces admit the likelihood of early elections within the next six months, “- said Cornel Churya in an interview with the correspondent of the Russian service” Voice of America “.
The expert noted that in recent days, Russian politicians have become more active in the Moldovan direction. In particular, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak visited the republic again. The Chisinau expert explains it this way: “The position of the Kremlin is as follows: at last Moldova has come to its senses and began to cooperate with Russia. In this sense, even the right-wing pro-European forces behave much better than the previous government. That is, in the future we should expect an intensification of the Russian political presence, “says Cornel Churya..
The Moldovan expert adds that if the current right-wing pro-European government of Maia Sandu does not show firm resolve to continue the course towards Euro-Atlantic integration, the eastern neighbors will tilt the country in their direction. “Recently, Putin said that in Moldova he hopes both on Dodon as president and on conditional pro-Europeans, such as Maia Sandu,” concluded Cornel Churya.
“Ukraine should be extremely attentive to the events in Moldova”
Professor of the Chisinau State Pedagogical University named after Ion Creanga, Doctor of Historical Sciences, publicist and public figure Sergio Musteata adds that the rhetoric of the Socialist Party does not imply a refusal to cooperate with the European Union. “Sometimes they say one thing, sometimes something opposite, but, in principle, they advocate normal relations with all major foreign policy forces,” said the interlocutor of the “Voice of America”.
“Yes, they said from the very beginning that this is a temporary coalition to overthrow the oligarchic regime of Vladimir Plahotniuc and the Democratic Party, which has been embodying this regime for the past few years. How long this coalition will hold out – we cannot say now, although both the socialists and Dodon himself recently announced that they would try to hold out as long as possible. That is, perhaps, for all four years until the next elections, ”continued Sergiu Musteata.
In the spring of this year, some Russian foreign policy experts, in particular, employees of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), said that the results of the last parliamentary elections in Moldova were won by two pro-Western forces, namely ACUM and the Democratic Party. Therefore, now, according to them, Transnistria will be cut off from Russian influence..
Sergio Musteata is skeptical about the European orientation of the Democratic Party. “Yes, they have repeatedly declared that they are pro-Europeans. It is necessary to look critically at these statements, and to analyze: what they were able to do during their years in power and to what extent they were able to implement the agreement with the European Union. The facts speak for themselves – over the past couple of years they have not been able to secure funding from Brussels. European missions such as the IMF and the World Bank were skeptical of their assurances. We should treat them in the same way, ”the Moldovan expert notes..
As for the influence of the “Transnistrian factor”, then, according to Sergiu Musteata, this region “has been and remains our weak link since 1991”.
In recent years, according to him, the situation has improved somewhat: “The elections have become more transparent. I think that since 2014 Russia has not been able to help Transnistria so actively directly, especially since Ukraine has closed the border. Therefore, Transnistria has changed a little for the better. However, the factor of instability remains – there are Russian troops there, although there are not so many of them. Of course, this region can be a hotbed of tension, but I hope that it will not come to an open conflict, because such a development of events will not benefit either Chisinau, or Tiraspol, or Kiev. Ukraine, of course, should be extremely attentive to the events in Moldova in general, and to the relations between Tiraspol and Chisinau in particular, ”warns historian and publicist Sergiu Musteata.