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Maia Sandu’s “taburetka”. Op-Ed by Victor Pelin


https://ipn.md/public/index.php/en/maia-sandus-taburetka-op-ed-by-victor-pelin-7978_1079049.html

“The eventual failure to cause snap elections risks turning the presidential seat of Maia Sandu into a very uncomfortable taburetka (“stool”) on which she will languish for at least about two years, until the eventual ordinary parliamentary elections of 2023...
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False concern of PSRM

The president of the PSRM Igor Dodon expressed his concern about the fact that “the country is experiencing a political, constitutional and governmental crisis caused by the incumbent President’s inaction”. He avoids saying that the inaction of President Maia Sandu is caused by the duplicitous behavior of the PSRM. It is well-known that the political and governmental crises were caused by the resignation of the Chicu Government, the given decision being undertaken and adopted in concert by Igor Dodon himself, ex-Premier Ion Chicu and Parliament Speaker Zinaida Grechanyi, ex-president of the PSRM. As regards the constitutional crisis, this simply does not exist. Under Article 85 of the supreme law, the Parliament and the presidential administration have three months at their disposal to overcome the governmental crisis that started on December 23, 2020. Moreover, there is a series of Constitutional Court (CC) judgments referring practically to all the aspects of the process of forming and investing and the consequences of an eventual failure to install the new Government.

Everyone could realize that the only serious problem in the current governmental crisis is the swiftness with which it can be overcome, the major impact being felt on the socioeconomic and pandemic dimensions. In the absence of a parliamentary majority that would assume responsibility for governance, the President is free to come up with the own solutions to the crisis. This solution was formulated by President Maia Sandu in her inaugural speech of December 24, 2020. This consists in the dissolution of Parliament and inducing of snap elections. Evidently, it is not the President’s blame that the parliamentary groups are unable to form a responsible majority for ensuring the activity of a government. In such circumstances, President Maia Sandu has to take into account the warning of the PSRM leader Igor Dodon, as to the fact that in the notorious and split Parliament of the tenth legislature, there are a lot of MPs who “would vote in at least a “taburetka” as Premier, meaning that these are interested in the own political fate, not in the efficiency of a government. In fact, this is the reason for which President Maia Sandu for now has avoided to propose taburetka candidates for premiership. To be clear to everyone, it should be noted that: taburetka is the generic name invented by Igor Dodon for any candidate for the post of Prime Minister, including an absolutely unsuitable candidate for a series of parliamentary groups from the angle of the programmatic objectives. Respectively, the eventual investiture of the taburetka without this openly and responsibly assuming responsibility for its activity is aimed at enabling the MPs with small chances of being reelected in eventual snap elections to keep the current seats.

In the given circumstances, the duplicitous attitude of Igor Dodon and the PSRM to the problem of overcoming of the governmental crisis was mentioned repeatedly. Public opinion convinced itself that during only a week, Igor Dodon firmly oscillated between the option of voting in a transition government, which would later cause another governmental crisis, followed by snap elections, and another, as firm option – urgent inducing of snap elections: “We call on the President to initiate the legal procedures we started a week ago for dissolving Parliament as swiftly as possible. There are no other solutions”. It is a sample of the reprovable political chess game that is so often practiced by Igor Dodon. That’s why the eventual voting by the parliamentary group of the PSRM or by a part of it in favor of the taburetka with the aim of subsequently discrediting the President, accusing her of not proposing the suitable taburetka for premiership, cannot be excluded.

Cure-all for Igor Dodon

The solution to the crisis to which Igor Dodon referred recently can be testing for the PSRM, elegant and with benefits for the damaged image of the party’s leader. For example, it is enough for several decisions that would be mandatory for the members of the parliamentary group of the PSRM to be adopted in the meeting of the party’s executive committee that was called by the party’s leader for January 18, 2021:

  • non-participation in the formation of any parliamentary majority;
  • non-participation in the voting in of a candidate proposed formally for premiership;
  • contribution by all means to the swifter dissolution of Parliament and inducing of snap parliamentary elections;
  • hampering of any political chess game in the process of modeling the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament.

The adoption of the given decisions would encourage President Maia Sandu not to accelerate the formal nomination of any taburetka candidate for the post of Prime Minister. It is not a trivial task as it is very hard to find persons inclined to accept the ingrate role of taburetka, which is doomed to failure.

In fact, the best solution for overcoming the governmental crisis is to adopt only one solution – non-participation by the parliamentary group in the Government investiture sittings, contributing this way to the utilization of the attempts needed to ascertain the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament. The PSRM has such an experience and a repeat would be a proof of the consistency of the party’s policy! Taking into account the precedent set in January 2016, which modeled the failure of the Cabinet of Ion Sturza, the given solution would be definitely supported by the parliamentary group of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS). A solidary action of the two groups would guarantee the non-participation in the Government investiture sittings of at least 52 MPs: 37 of the PSRM and 15 of the PAS, ensuring the absence of a quorum and confirming the impossibility of giving a vote of confidence to any taburetka. In light of decision No. 1 of 19-01-2016 adopted by the CC, we are sure that the high Court has a clear case law as regards the given problem:

  • as to the fact that Parliament didn’t pronounce by vote on the investiture/rejection of the Sturza Government, as the Parliament sittings didn’t have a quorum, so that the attempt to form the Government wasn’t utilized, the Court considers these allegations (of the group of the PSRM)... are evidently unfounded;
  • The Court notes that the quorum condition at the Parliament sitting of January 4, 2016 wasn’t met namely because the sitting was deliberately blocked by the parliamentary group of the PSRM, through the absence of the members of this group, this being thus the exclusive result of its actions;
  • Either Parliament voted or not in a clear way, the attempt to form a Government is considered utilized when the time limit expires”.

The benefits the PSRM would gain by adopting the decision not to take part in Parliament sittings to invest the taburetka are evident:

  • the PSRM could confirm that it is not only concerned about the crisis experienced by the Republic of Moldova, but also takes a decisive part in the overcoming of the governmental crisis it caused;    
  • the PSRM would confirm the consistency of its approaches for similar political situations, reiterating the attitude expressed during the governmental crisis of December – January 2016, especially because the party decisively contributed to strengthening the CC’s case law in this regard;
  • the PSRM’s decisive contribution to casing the dissolution of Parliament and snap elections would offer the party’s leader Igor Dodon the possibility of swifter returning to a public post with a major impact on the political life in the country, etc.

Conclusions

The convening by the president of the PSRM Igor Dodon of the meeting of the party’s executive committee can end with the adoption of important decisions for overcoming the governmental crisis, contributing to the swifter dissolution of Parliament and organization of snap legislative elections.

An optimal decision of the PSRM would be to prove the consistency of approaches in similar political phenomena, repeating the experience of January 2016, when the party deliberately boycotted the Parliament siting to invest the Sturza Government, contributing this way to strengthening the CC’s case law concerning the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament;

President Maia Sandu should more actively communicate with the parliamentary groups so as to discourage the irresponsible voting in of a taburetka as Prime Minister. The eventual failure to cause snap elections risks turning the presidential seat of Maia Sandu into a very uncomfortable taburetka (“stool”) on which she will languish for at least about two years, until the eventual ordinary parliamentary elections of 2023.