on the organization of the debate “Snap parliamentary elections: necessities, possibilities, interests”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 23 december 2020, Debate No.165 brought together: political analyst Cornel Ciurea, Jurist Ștefan Gligor and Igor Boțan, IPN project’s standing expert.
The current situation, in all its aspects – social, economic, political, health and others – is perceived as a difficult one, possibly more difficult than in other periods of existence of the state Republic of Moldova. It is rumored that the snap parliamentary elections are one of the solutions that can contribute to remedying the situation. Experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Snap parliamentary elections: necessities, possibilities, interests” discussed the reasonability of such a viewpoint, the necessity and possibility of snap elections and the interests of those who share or reject the idea of snap legislative elections.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said the snap legislative elections are called after the mandate of the current Parliament is interrupted. “The mandate of any elected Parliament is of four years. If this is interrupted earlier, snap parliamentary elections are called to ensure the continuity of the legislative power in the state. The ordinary parliamentary elections are held once in four years, while the snap ones when the mandate is interrupted because either Parliament cannot select and invest the Prime Minister or Parliament is unable to adopt normative documents. In the situation in which the Republic of Moldova is now, after the resignation of the Chicu Government, a third solution will be necessary – the self-dissolution of Parliament, when the MPs reach the conclusion that the legislative body is illegitimate. “This interruption in the Parliament’s mandate by self-dissolution was debated by the Constitutional Court, which didn’t say that Parliament cannot be dissolved, but said that it can dissolve itself, but the CC’s arguments were that a procedure was needed, there were no more substitute candidates, partial elections had to be organized, etc. But all these are inappropriate in the situation in which everyone admits that Parliament is not legitimate,” stated the expert.
According to Igor Boțan, a legal Parliament means “in accordance with the law”. “Parliament is legal as it is chosen as a result of elections, but the legitimacy intervenes when the sovereign people consider that this legal Parliament no longer represents them. This way, a rupture occurs between the legal side and the people’s support. In Belarus, the authorities say the elections were held legally, but they took place amid continuous protests where the people say the elections were rigged. There, alongside the “legal” President, there is also a “legitimate” President of the Republic of Belarus - Svetlana Tihanovskaya, who is recognized by the international partners.
Political analyst Cornel Ciurea said everyone speaks about the necessity of snap parliamentary elections because Parliament is illegitimate. But the illegitimacy of a Parliament can entail major political consequences such as snap parliamentary elections. “The fact that the political players admit that Parliament is illegitimate does not mean that elections will take place automatically as the devil is in the details and the road to the snap elections is extremely thorny. If the politicians stay that they want snap elections, this does not mean that they really want them. A clear distinction should be made between realities and appearances and the discourses given by the politicians, and not only in the public sphere,” he stated.
Cornel Ciurea considers the Chicu Government’s resignation is really an opportunity for triggering snap parliamentary elections, but the road is “mined“. “The self-dissolution of Parliament wasn’t really taken into account. This seems to be the simplest solution, but it is not stipulated by the Constitution. All the other ways can lead to a political deadlock or to a situation where, instead of snap elections and a new Parliament, there will be a new Government with a surprise candidate. There should be made a clear difference between the stated wish to have snap elections and the political process that ultimately can take a different direction,” he stated.
“If the intention is not to have snap parliamentary elections, why does the Chicu Government resign?” asked jurist Ștefan Gligor. He said there are two Constitutional Court judgments, of 2015 and of August 2020. “The first judgment says that if a Government cannot be named during three months, this is a precondition for the mandatory dissolution of Parliament. In 2020, there was adopted a decision that repeats particular positions of the decision of 2015 and adds new elements. Finally, it is concluded that: if Parliament wants to invest a new Government, an absolute parliamentary majority needs to be formed. This means the PSRM, together with the Shor Party and the unaffiliated MPs, will have to sign and to state publicly that they form a parliamentary majority. “Under the CC decisions of 2015 and 2020, the preconditions will be then met for President Maia Sandu to propose a candidate for premiership. Maia Sandu will reject any candidate who will be put forward by such a toxic parliamentary majority,” he stated.
According to Ștefan Gligor, the legal consequences for Maia Sandu, if such a candidate is rejected, are nil. “Then, they will try to go to the CC so as to invoke the institutional impasse and to seek the clarification of the procedure. But I don’t think they will succeed as the Court will say that it already gave a clear ruling. The period of three months during which the Government cannot be invested will thus have to pass so as to dissolve Parliament,” stated Ștefan Gligor.
The Agency published 5 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 23.12.20, „ Snap parliamentary elections: necessities, possibilities, interests. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/snap-parliamentary-elections-necessities-possibilities-interests-ipn-debate-8004_1078600.html; „Resignation of Chicu Government is not unexpected, experts” - https://www.ipn.md/en/resignation-of-chicu-government-is-not-unexpected-experts-8004_1078599.html; „Cornel Ciurea: It is not at all evident that snap elections must take place in first half of 2021” - https://www.ipn.md/en/cornel-ciurea-it-is-not-at-all-evident-that-snap-8004_1078603.html; „Igor Boțan: We could have snap parliamentary elections not earlier than May 2021” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-we-could-have-snap-parliamentary-elections-not-earlier-8004_1078604.html. „Ștefan Gligor: Snap parliamentary elections will take place, but political class is not ready for them” - https://www.ipn.md/en/stefan-gligor-snap-parliamentary-elections-will-take-place-but-political-8004_1078605.html.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN