Moldova once again left without government

Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili in Chisinau to save Maia Sandu
Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili in Chisinau to save Maia Sandu

Moldova once again was left without a government. Thus, another muted internal political crisis swept the republic. Actually, such a development does not come as surprise: the alliance of the Party of Socialists of President Igor Dodon (informally), Speaker of Parliament Zinaida Greceanii and the right-wing bloc ACUM of Prime Minister Maia Sandu initially seemed to be unnatural. It was actually created at the instruction and initiative of external players - the US, Russia and the EU.

There was no other way out of the deep crisis and no opportunity to get rid of the informal but becoming official board of oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, the leader of the Democratic Party.

The contradictions in the artificially created ruling coalition became evident immediately after the achievement of the main goal. As soon as Plahotniuc left Moldova, the partners signaled diametrically opposite visions. President Dodon leaned towards Moscow, participating in the CIS and EAEU events, while Prime Minister Sandu looked in the opposite direction, emphasizing an indifferent attitude to what was ‘interesting’ to the president of the republic.

The completely different approaches were taken in the Transnistrian issue. If Dodon’s position in resolving the conflict can be briefly described as restoring Chisinau’s jurisdiction in a self-proclaimed republic by gaining the full confidence of Moscow, Sandu’s approach for restoring territorial integrity remains unclear. In any case, her attitude to Tiraspol (such as tightening control on the Transnistrian section of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border by agreement with Kyiv, freezing the accounts of Transnistrian enterprises in Moldovan banks and blocking the export of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian republic) do not indicate any constructive peace plan. And in general, Romanian citizen Maia Sandu seems to be more concerned with Romania’s annexation of Moldova than the restoration of Chisinau’s jurisdiction on the other side of the Dniester.

The crown of controversy and at the same time the reason for the ‘killing’ of the ruling coalition was the approach to the prosecutor general’s appointment. The Cabinet of Ministers delegated legislative powers to the Prime Minister to select a candidate, ignoring consultations with the coalition partners - the Party of Socialists. The responsibility assumed by the ACUM bloc did not reduce the political tensions. In response to these actions, the socialists introduced an initiative on a vote of no confidence in a government to the parliament.

The tensions escalated. Ex-President of Georgia and former governor of the Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili came to Chisinau to save Maia Sandu. Maybe, on behalf of Western curators. Although back in July, Maia Sandu shared her plans ”on reforms implementation” at the invitation of Saakashvili. Then, however, the former Georgian leader in an interview with one of the Ukrainian television companies said that he was not going to Chisinau - according to him, he was not interested in it. Although later, meeting with Sandu in Ukraine, Saakashvili promised her to provide all possible assistance. Apparently, the time came, although his stay in the Moldovan capital was declared related to no-fly weather. However, the Party of Socialists of the republic is convinced that apart from the fog that interrupted the flight, Saakashvili arrived to help the pro-Western ACUM bloc to clear the situation. And it changed rapidly - the democrats of Plahotniuc supported the initiative of the Party of Socialists and the Sandu government collapsed. She, in turn, stated the parties that created the ACUM bloc would continue the struggle "both on the streets and on the barricades." In that light, Saakashvili’s assistance takes on a sinister character.

Does Moldova really need this?

The first. There are talks that, today, the Georgian ex-president is not the person who organized the Rose Revolution in 2003 and was pulling the country out of the swamp with furious energy in the next five years. Skeptics explain their attitude towards Saakashvili by the fact that he failed as the governor of the Odesa region, saying his activities in Ukrainian politics were one big scandal and many minor misunderstandings. In general, this point of view has a certain amount of sense. Saakashvili’s work in Odessa was not marked with breakthrough achievements as it was in Georgia. But it can not be described as pointless - out of almost three dozen promises, he managed to fulfill almost a half. And this, taking into account the resistance in place, the absence of the support guaranteed by President Petro Poroshenko and sharp conflicts with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. There would be fewer conflicts if Saakashvili preferred a delicate game to the frontal attacks of the Ukrainian heavyweights. But these are the features of his character and temperament. Thus, we should not forget about Mikhail Nikolozovich’s proneness to conflict, especially when a politician with a pro-Russian reputation is the president of Moldova.

The second. An analysis of Saakashvili’s activities in Georgia shows that he succeeds when he is completely absorbed by a specific idea. In this light, the above-mentioned lack of interest, of which he spoke commenting on Sandu’s plans for an invitation to reform in Moldova, may turn out to be a key.

The third. Saakashvili is a brilliant politician who loves publicity and simply does not know how to stay in the shadows - in any case, until now he has not shown a lack of this quality. Are Moldavian pro-Western political leaders ready for this?

The fourth. What is at stake in a personal plan? Indeed, even the post of the governor of the largest region of Ukraine, quite comparable with Moldova in terms of area and population, turned out to be a bit shallow for Saakashvili.

The fifth. Is Chisinau fine with the aggravation of relations with Moscow at least at a rhetorical level? Seeking and seeing the machinations of Russia and President Vladimir Putin in the slightest setbacks is also an integral part of Saakashvili’s politics.

The sixth. One of the tasks of Chisinau is the Transnistrian conflict settlement. Meanwhile, the boundaries of Saakashvili’s competence are not outlined, and further developments are unpredictable. It should be noted that his promises to resolve the South Ossetian conflict by the end of his first presidential term, and the Abkhaz one by the end of the second, remained not only unfulfilled: on the day he left the office, the conflicts were father away from resolution on the Tbilisi scenario than they had been on the day Saakashvili came to power.

However, all this has no relation to date, but it may become relevant in the near future. Toda, in Chisinau, under the legislation, the negotiations of parliamentary factions to create a parliamentary majority should start, the president should choose a candidate for the post of the prime minister and present him to the parliament. If the deputies do not approve the government within 45 days after receiving the relevant proposal and reject it twice, the supreme legislative body of the republic will be dissolved again.

Meanwhile, it is obvious that this time, the intervention of external forces is inevitable. While the USA and Russia are still waiting, the EU has already expressed its attitude to the events, and the bloc’s support for Maia Sandu is evident. European Union spokeswoman Maya Kocijancic expressed concern for Moldova’s future. According to her, the EU associates the reforms that were enshrined in the association agreement between Moldova and the EU with the ACUM bloc only. The EU does not believe that Chisinau will implement them without the pro-Western forces. At the same time, President Dodon has a strong reputation as Moscow’s adept. It is unknown, whether the West and, in particular, the EU will believe its probable promises not to curtail the reforms without the ACUM bloc in power.

Given all this, Maia Sandu’s promises that Moldova would be left without Western support if the government resigned, coupled with the mentioned promise to continue the fight in the streets and barricades, and even with an adviser like Saakashvili, the small republic will face new and “curious period”.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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