Moldova: A new round of political games

Natalia Stercul, Foreign Policy Association of Moldova (Chisinau)

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The intriguing results of parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova will most likely lead to a coalition between the Democratic party and the party of Socialists. The tactical goals of democrats will be achieved, and Moldovan politics will go back to square one. Now the citizens of Moldova, being tired of the political crisis in the country and seeing no way out in the near future, mostly think about price increase and inflation. Will the EU policy regarding the Republic of Moldova change under such conditions, with it somewhat acquiring a different shade after forming the new European Parliament? It remains to be seen.

Domestic Policy

Will tactical goals be achieved in the political game?

Мany politicians and experts predicted with 90% probability the possible early parliamentary elections under the given uncompromising circumstances in the country’s domestic policy and the inability of political forces to come to an agreement. The president himself many times expressed his point of view on the issue and not without regret. As he stated, in case the MPs cannot reach a mutually acceptable agreement by June 10 he will have to initiate the process of dissolving the parliament.

ACUM and PRSM could not reach an agreement and nobody hopes that this is going to happen in the future. However, early elections can still be avoided if the Democratic Party and the Party of Socialists form a coalition. Following a period of long silence, the democrats made the first step and invited the socialists to the negotiating table. The latter in fact agreed at lightning speed, despite having previously dubbed such a step as impossible.

It seems like the chosen tactics is likely to be successful, especially taking into account the fact that on May 28-29 Igor Dodon and Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of Eurasian Summit in Kazakhstan and this meeting had its impact. It is worth reminding that earlier Moscow acted in favor of early parliamentary elections as it was acting against the coalition of the Democratic Party and the Party of Socialists due to the notorious Russian laundromat (a huge Russian money laundering scheme where Moldova was a key transit point). However, it is most likely that the situation was reviewed. Moreover, given the conditions of a complicated political crisis and considering the fact that it is prior to taking an important decision – to dissolve the Parliament or form a coalition with the democrats, Dmitry Kozak, a special representative for the President of the Russian Federation, arrived in Moldova. This visit has a purely political nature and is only made insidious using economic undertones. It again proves that Moscow can influence domestic political situation within the country. Under such conditions it is highly unlikely that early parliamentary elections will take place.


Inflation and price increase

The citizens of the Republic of Moldova faced price increase for essential goods including agricultural produce. Against this backdrop higher prices for diesel fuel hardly come as a surprise. Such price increase can scarcely be called unreasonable as the National Bank of Moldova reviewed its 2019 inflation forecast and now the rate makes up 5,1% against 4,9% as stated in February. The annual inflation rate is expected to grow during the entire year of 2019, therefore, the rate of price increase is going to go up as well.

Moreover, according to May World Bank report, tax measures adopted prior to elections and higher prices for agricultural goods as well as possible increase for regulated tariffs will lead to higher level of inflation in Moldova. Economic recession continues to get worse, while it is more and more difficult to regulate price formation. Taking into account such factors as lower foreign funding, structural disadvantages of the country’s economic development and political uncertainty, the existing risks and challenges in this sphere are not only obvious, but also more and more tangible.

Foreign policy

European parliament elections, their results and aftermath for Moldova

The elections to the European Parliament draw close attention of the entire global community, which is first and foremost explained by the fact that they are one of the most large-scale and democratic elections in the world. Their results determine not only policy efficiency within the EU, the lives of member states but also EU foreign policy both on bilateral and multilateral levels. The new European Parliament will be drastically different from the previous one as much depends on seat allocation between the representatives of pro-European parties and populists. As for the Republic of Moldova, the results of these elections play a special role as it will impact future EU policy regarding the Republic of Moldova and other member states of the Eastern Partnership.