Will Maia Sandu return to post of Prime Minister? IPN analysis

On May 8, the parliamentary majority was close to disappearing. Four more MPs left the Democratic parliamentary group. The coalition of the Socialists and the Democrats remained with only 54 MPs. If four more leave – and this is possible if taking into account the composition of the Democrats’ group – the Chicu Government will be stripped of guaranteed parliamentary support. Possibilities of returning to executive power could thus open up for the opposition…

Let’s see who left

Those who left the parliamentary group of the PDM weren’t at least suspected of having intentions to leave. These are Oleg Sîrbu, Elena Bacalu, Violeta Ivanov and Vladimir Vitiuc. The first two were, as they rumored, Filip’s “men”. Ivanov and Vitiuc, who in the not too distant past had been members of the Party of Communists, as Dodon and Grechanyi and many other current Socialists, perfectly fit into the logic of the PSRM-PDM coalition. The Democratic group fell apart by itself. It simply fell apart.

This thing was admitted also by the president of the PDM Pavel Filip. Coming out before journalists on May 8, he said that those who left include the main supporters of the coalition formed by the Democrats and the Socialists.

But there are also those who opposed that coalition. After the May 4 meeting of the Democratic parliamentary group that lasted for six hours, this is no longer a secret. They are potential candidates for leaving. Pavel Filip underlined: the PDM is subject to unprecedented pressure. So, the dismemberment of the group is only a matter of time.

Ideals and opponents

The Democrats led by Pavel Filip to this pressure can counterpose only the new party ideals – sincere work for the wellbeing of the country, the people and the European values. But the opponents of the government coalition precisely aim all the tunnels at the PDM’s capacity to transpose these ideals into life.

Pro-Moldova launched an ordinary shot on May 8. The head of the parliamentary group Andrian Candu held a press briefing where he insisted that the current Government does not cope with things and should leave. This, according to the MP, fights the pandemic inappropriately, is unable to protect the entrepreneurs and the salary earners from the consequences of this, adopts unconstitutional laws (and the CC’s May 7 judgment confirmed this), does not respect and does not appreciate the Europeans’ support.

Andrian Candu actually smashed the ideals of the PDM and then directly addressed the former party colleagues, inviting them to leave the “red swamp” and to form a new, high-quality Government together with the other parliamentary groups.

Three scenarios of the President

It is interesting that the probability of the further split inside the Democratic parliamentary group is recognized by President Igor Dodon himself. He already calculated the possible scenarios of political developments. Igor Dodon presented them in the program “President Responds”, also on May 8.

Igor Dodon is sure that there are three scenarios. First scenario: the parliamentary majority will resist. But the President didn’t say in what way. He said that the Democrats should decide by themselves how to act. This means the Socialists do not intend to help the allies as they count on the own unity. And the President underlined that now the ranks of the PSRM are stronger than ever.

Second scenario: the PDM’s group will remain without several more MPs and the Chicu Government will become a minority one. It will have to hold negotiations with each of the parliamentary groups on each bill apart. The President does not see problems arising from such developments. He noted the Government worked under such a regime earlier, since last November until this March, and it could thus work this way now too.

Third scenario: after the parliamentary majority disappears, the opposition will give a vote of no confidence to the Chicu Government, will remove it and will try to form the own Cabinet. Igor Dodon is sure that two variants of developments will be possible this way: first – three large parliamentary groups and a smaller group will come to terms and will appoint a new Government; second – they will not come to terms and Parliament will have to be dissolved so as to hold snap parliamentary elections.

The President considers the two variants are advantageous for the Socialists. The first, because Maia Sandu will have to sit at the negotiating table with those with whom hands cannot be joined, as her supporters consider. Igor Dodon is sure that this will deprive her of the chance of gathering a sufficient number of votes in the presidential elections and the informal leader of the PSRM this way will beat his main opponent by the first round.

Igor Dodon called the second variant – snap parliamentary elections – “more correct” because Parliament will this way not lose legitimacy, which is it will not stop to meet the expectations of people who do not want a PAS-PPPDA-“Shor”-“Pro-Moldova” alliance, as Igor Dodon believes.

Chances of those of the right

Neither Maia Sandu nor Andrei Năstase made public statements until the evening of May 8. But namely they have now a say in the subsequent developments in the county. They now have the chance to return to executive power and to overcome the contradictions that led to the dismemberment of the ACUM bloc: who of the two leaders – Sandu or Năstase – should run for President.

This is definitely not an easy task. Igor Dodon intimidates his own opponents by threatening them they will lose the voters’ confidence if they form an alliance with the Democrats. But such an alliance should be yet formed. Pavel Filip considers the parties of Maia Sandu and Andrei Năstase enjoy less support in society than the Party of Socialists and the Democrats need a powerful ally, a driving force that will help the PDM remain afloat. At the same time, for forming a new parliamentary majority they will need the votes of the Pro-Moldova group, the Shor Party and the independent MPs and such a partnership is to be explained to the supporters. Furthermore, the new Government will have to work very efficiently so that the candidate of the right has real chances of winning the presidential elections.

For arguments “why”

In such a situation, the silence kept by Maia Sandu and Andrei Năstase is not at all surprising. It will be surprising, if it continues because:

First. The largest two parties of the right of Moldova enjoy the full support of Romania and of the European establishment.

Second. Since the start of the year, Maia Sandu has forced the creation of a front “for the struggle against Dodon”.

Third. None of the potential situational allies of the PAS and PPDA is a real electoral opponent for these parties.

Fourth. In snap parliamentary elections, in case of a crisis with several stages, the biggest chances are enjoyed by those who have administrative resources and access to public funds and control the external financing.

So, Maia Sandu and Andrei Năstase have two ways out. First – to take the situation under control, to initiate negotiations with Pavel Filip and to conclude a temporary armistice with the MPs of the Shor Party and Candu’s group. The second way is to leave the situation develop itself and to act, as earlier, exclusively with parliamentary instruments.

In the first case, Maia Sandu could return to the post of Prime Minister, while Andrei Năstase could compete in the presidential race. In the second case, Igor Dodon would enjoy big chances of obtaining the second term in office as President, while the Parry of Socialists – of maintaining the most favorable positions in Moldovan politics.

Natalia Uzun, IPN

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