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Moldova Without Government: What's Next – East or West?

On March 5, Moldova’s Parliament passed a no-confidence motion, dismissing [ro] the country's pro-European three-party coalition government led by Vlad Filat, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. The 54 votes in favour of the motion came from the Communist Party, the ruling coalition's member Democratic Party and several independent MPs. The government fell amid allegations of corruption and deep rivalries within the ruling Alliance for European Integration (AIE). While the three parties that formed the government on two subsequent occasions have still to figure out a way out of this deadlock, the Communist Party has played out as the overall winner and has high hopes of making a comeback to power.

Vlad Filat, the dismissed prime minister. Photo by Alexander Savinov, 2009 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Vlad Filat, the dismissed Prime Minister. Photo by Alexander Savinov, 2009 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Just a few weeks earlier, Moldova seemed to be the greatest hope on the European Union’s Eastern borders.

Now, the post-Soviet state might be thrown back into the eternal Russia-Europe power game and is headed for a serious political crisis. The Constitution states that if the Parliament fails twice within the next 45 days to reach an agreement to form a new government, it will be dissolved and the country could face early elections, a much-too-frequent exercise in the young state’s history.

Voices from Brussels immediately called on Moldova’s political elite to further pursue integration with the European Union.

The blogosphere seems to have grasped the behind-the-scenes party politics that led to the dismissal of Vlad Filat’s cabinet of ministers.

Sorin Hadârcă writes this [ro] in a piece entitled “Absurdistan”:

Today I sat and enjoyed the wonderful play “The Dismissal of the Government,” orchestrated by the Democratic Party. I was shocked by the cynicism of some politicians who, in order to cover up the traces of a crime, did not hesitate to sacrifice the Moldovans’ chances to a decent life.

The author refers to a recent scandal that broke out [ro] when the Liberal Democratic Party demanded the resignation of the Prosecutor General (an appointee of the Democratic Party), who, together with other high-profile members of the government, is alleged to have been involved in the cover-up of a young man's hunting-related shooting death. This resulted in party-driven revenge moves by the Democratic Party, which in turn launched investigations of power abuse against ministers appointed by the Liberal Democratic Party.

Andrei Fornea brings the same line of thought to the public attention. He asks [ro]:

Do you really believe that the Government was dismissed because it did not fulfill its action plan, or because it built bad roads, or because it did not raise salaries or pensions? Of course, not. So all that is left is to enjoy the fact that an oligarch has demonstrated his real capacities…

Supporters of Moldova’s pro-European path are cautious of the country’s reform agenda. Denis Cenușă writes [ro]:

It seems that there is no voice that can convince the Moldovan oligarchs that any step back can lead to another 5-10 years wasted for reform and advancement to a level compatible with the status of an EU candidate country.

Igor Casu fears [ro] that Moldova might lose its European direction:

… all the three parties of the AIE have but to lose from the anticipated elections, and by extension and more important, the Republic of Moldova as whole has to lose, and will fall back into the sphere of the Russian interests, and the West will turn its back for an indefinite time.

The Civic Platform “Acțiunea 2012″ is concerned [ro] that the Communist Party, which ruled the country between 2001-2009, could return to power:

An eventual Communist government will reengage in politics against all citizens of the Republic of Moldova, just to divert Chișinău's European orientation towards failed geopolitical projects.

Nicolae Ciobanu believes [ro] that the only solution is a new leader:

We need a Hero who would achieve complete order in this country, a Hero who would release the poor people who stole small things from prisons, so that they can feed their families, and fill up [these prisons] with the ruling cheats and beasts, of which there are many, far too many for such a small country. We need a Hero who will bring the country out of the ruin and in line with the rest of the developed states.

One thing is clear: the citizens, on the streets or online, are tired of watching the same politicians repeating the same mistakes.

Journalist and blogger Andrei Cibotaru writes [ro]:

This Alliance has tried everything: anticipated elections, a referendum, a presidential crisis, an algorithm, a motion… I think no one until now has tried so many pirouettes in Moldovan politics. If they bring it back to life one more time, I will be forever convinced that I’m very stupid in politics.

After the government's dismissal, the Moldovan journalists’ first reactions on Facebook were also not too hopeful.

Viorel Mardare wrote [ro]:

When I was entering the shower, there was still a government. I came out of the shower – the government is gone. Tomorrow I will be afraid to wash myself.

Daria Gvindjia wrote [ru]:

Well, now it is clearly time to leave. If I could catapult myself away from this country, I would. Somehow, I've become completely unpatriotic.

Lina Grau quoted [ro] her 10-year-old daughter:

My daughter, 10 years old, after I explained what's happening in the country: “Don’t these people understand that if they fight, the entire nation suffers?”

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