Moldova: Internal political discord and democratic process stagnation

Natalia Stercul, Foreign Policy Association of the Republic of Moldova

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The protests against changing of the electoral system, some difficulties of the democratic transition and the ever present influence of Russia in the region of Transnistria complicate the Moldova’s already challenging domestic political situation. The attempts made to overcome the economic recession are supported by the late measures of the intensifying control over the banking sector and a launching of an inter-institutional platform to monitor the investigation of the fraud operations. The Moldova’s involvement in the military and political cooperation with the NATO member states provides for its army modernization according to the European standards, as well as for its security and defense sectors reforming. The issue of the evacuating of the Russian forces illegally deployed on the territory of the Republic of Moldova was also a part of the international agenda.

Domestic Policy. Difficulties of democratic government and reintegration

Against the backdrop of the Moldovan government assigning the members of the national commission on creating the single-seat constituencies, the leaders of the Party of Action and Solidarity and the Dignity and Truth Platform Party organized a protest. Acting against the mixed electoral system, the transition to which was criticized by the Venice Commission, yet supported by the socialists, the democrats and the President, the opposition forces hoped to be able to go back to the proportional representation with the Moldovan people participating in the protests. The main disadvantage of this type of the electoral system is a so called “political tourism”, that is a possibility to change your party affiliation. It is expected that the mixed electoral system will allow to increase the responsibility of the politicians for their actions, however, nothing is being said regarding the possibility to manipulate the votes of MPs and increase the level of te corruption. However, this time the attempt to mobilize the citizens failed, the repeat protest is scheduled for 1, October ( It looks like that the parliamentary elections in 2018 will take place according to the mixed system, and the transition to true democracy and the rule of law will take a long time.

A greeting by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a persona non grata in Moldova, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the day the unrecognized Republic of Transnistria was declared, cannot be left unnoticed. The greeting note suggests that Russia as a state guarantor will not let such military and political events happen again, and the “future of Transnistria is next to Great Russia”. The statements of that sort even more so destabilize the situation in the region, stoke dissatisfaction and irritation, have a destructive impact on the reintegration of the left-side regions within the Republic of Moldova. Moreover, this paves the way for the Transnistrian side to make the accusations regarding the use of the radical instruments aimed at the isolation of the region on behalf of Chisinau.

Economy. Better supervision of banking sector

The aftermath of the scandal in the banking sector, connected to the stolen billion  and hopes for the return of the country’s assets forced authorities to create an inter-institutional platform for monitoring the investigation of the banking fraud and return of the lost assets both on the national and international levels.

The government initiated the discussion on the issue of the foreign troops withdrawal from the territory of the Republic of Moldova at the UN General Assembly

The banks and the non-banking organizations, the insurance and investment companies will be under a stronger supervision and control. In order to harmonize the legislation, lessen further risks and improve the systematic supervision, as well as to protect the legal norms of the prosecutors and judges in the sphere of the parallel financial investigations and seizure of the illegal  assets, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the action plan on preventing and fighting money laundering and financing terrorism 2017-2019 . The government’s late actions and bad timing for the legal support do not provide enough confidence as for their efficiency, however, allowing for the hopes to prevent the fraud in the future.

Foreign Policy. Moldova’s participation in international military and political cooperation

The failed attempt of the country’s President to ban the government’s decision  on sending the Moldovan soldiers to the military drills Rapid Trident in Ukraine, which took place 8-23, September, 2017 in the frames of the NATO program Partnership for Peace. The government’s reaction was immediate. The neutrality principle does not suggest isolation, the national army needs modernization, while the security sector needs reforms. To support this position the Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) was approved by the Republic of Moldova-NATO during 2017-2019, which aims to fight the new security threats, develop military forces, and improve the level of readiness in case of the emergency situations and crisis management.

In the light of the UN’s 72nd General Assembly session the Moldovan government initiated the procedure to add to the agenda a special point on “withdrawing the foreign forces from the territory of the Republic of Moldova”, which resulted in a disapproval of the country’s President. This fact was not also left unnoticed by the Russian Federation. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov made a rather harsh statement , saying that “those who suggested the idea of the Russian troops evacuating provoke a war in the region”. Yet the illegal dislocation of fthe orces on the territory of the Republic of Moldova intensifies the Transnistrian conflict and complicates the process of its settlement.