The Republic of Moldova is going through a very serious political and not only political crisis to which solutions should be identified. The ways of overcoming the situation that took shape after the Constitutional Court passed its judgment on February 23 and the President’s reaction to this decision were discussed by invitees to IPN’s public debate “Transitional government, snap elections or impeachment: for and against, benefits and risks”.
Acceding to Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, a fully-fledged government is a government invested according to the constitutional procedures, with a majority of at least 50+1 MPs. “A transitional government is rather a politological notion. It is not described in the legal framework of the Republic of Moldova. It is a government that is probably regarded by the politicians who vote it as a government that will not fulfill its mandate till the end. The fully-fledged government’s mandate lasts from the moment it is invested until the end of the mandated of the Parliament that invested it, while the transitional government is a government that is accepted by the parliamentary majority for a particular period of time. An example of transitional government is the Chicu Government that asked for a one-year mandate from Parliament,” he stated.
Igor Boțan noted a minority government does not enjoy support in Parliament for implementing a program, even if it is invested by the voters of over half of the MPs. The Chicu Government was the most recent minority government. It was preceded by the Government of Kiril Gaburici, which was voted in including with the votes of the Communist MPs, but later didn’t enjoy support. The fate of transitional and minority governments is sad and therefore they are rather political instruments for overcoming a crisis.
According to the expert, the snap parliamentary elections are a remedy for overcoming political crises when Parliament is unable to fulfill its duties and during three months doesn’t adopt any laws or when the legislature is unable to vote in a government.
The impeachment is an accusation made by an official body against an important public figure, in this case by Parliament against the President. The referendum is the final remedy in the procedure for suspending the President, which has three stages. The first stage is the initiation of the suspension by the votes of at least one third of MPs. The second is the suspension by the votes of at least two thirds of MPs and the holding of a referendum where the citizens are to confirm the Parliament’s suspension decision and is the exercise for dismissing the President.
‘The Constitutional Court’s role in society is that of a referee. Its task, in the case of a conflict between Parliament and the government, is to ascertain the circumstances that justify the solution of Parliament or to confirm that the President committed serious departures and the impeachment procedure can start and should be completed,” stated Igor Boțan.
Political analyst Cornel Ciurea said the Constitutional Court resisted particular pressure and passed a constitutional, perfectly valid judgment. “’From political viewpoint, the CC’s decision does not solve the political crisis, but expands it as one of the currently big political players, President Maia Sandu, refuses to execute it. For this reason, the crisis will not be solved as it can be settled only by constitutional ways,” stated the analyst.
According to him, the option of a transitional government is supported by all the parliamentary groups, except for the PAS, which is firmly in favor of snap elections. The other parliamentary groups earlier accepted such an option, but later changed their mind due to the economic, pandemic crisis. There could be also particular political interests, but these are kept secret. Many of the parliamentary parties are afraid to obtain a lower score in snap elections, while the PAS could get a higher score in these. The PAS actually aims to eliminate the rivals from the right in snap elections.
There is a conflict of the President and PAS with the parliamentary groups. “The PPPDA wants Andrei Năstase to be voted in as Premier. The PSRM and the Shor Party want Mariana Durleșteanu, while Pro Moldova wants discussions so as to eventually enter this equation. They all have common interests, but, owing to the major contradiction, we are witnessing the deepening of the crisis as no one wants to concede,” stated Cornel Ciurea, noting the creation of a technical government by offering guarantees that snap elections will take place later does not seem appropriate to him.
Valeriu Pașa, projects manager at WatchDog Community, said the Constitutional Court’s decision is absolutely logical and is based on the interpretation made by the current composition of the Court in August 2020, which, for its part, was based on a series of previous decisions. In January, the CC rejected a challenge, saying that all the conditions defined in the Constitution need to be ensured before reaching snap elections. Article 85 of the Constitution specifies the circumstances that lead to the dissolution of Parliament and also the restrictions. The Constriction also says that Parliament can be dissolved only if two attempts to invest the Government fail.
From political perspective, Valeriu Pașa believes the judgment passed by the CC on February 23 is the most suitable one for President Maia Sandu in the existing objective situation as, if that decree remained in force, the parliamentary majority would have voted in the Gavrilița Government on the second attempt and the scenario that was earlier intensely promoted by the PSRM and the media affiliated to it would have been implemented. Maia Sandu would have been somehow obliged to assume a minority government for which to bear political responsibility, while the parliamentary majority with a comfortable number of votes in Parliament would have sabotaged the activity of this government,” stated Valeriu Pașa.
According to him, the CC judgment enabled Maia Sandu to follow the only reliable scenario – to continue to oppose the formation of a government and to provoke Parliament to act or to resort to impeachment, or to go towards an institutional stalemate in which the CC will again have a say. “The President has most of the voters on her side. The voting in of the Gavrilița Government wasn’t the best scenario for Maia Sandu,” noted Valeriu Pașa.
The public debate “Transitional government, snap elections or impeachment: for and against, benefits and risks” is the 174th installment of the project “Developing Political Culture though Public Debates” that is implemented by IPN with the assistance of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.