“If it had been differently, the politicians would have sat at the negotiating table to find a happy solution to renovate the composition of Parliament, given the impact of the pandemic crisis on the eventual elections. It seems that we know what the cause of the irresponsibility is – amateurism of chess players who permanently cheat, eroding eventual partners’ confidence…”
Worth the effort?
Parliament Speaker Zinaida Grechanyi decided to anticipate an eventual usurpation of the power by President Maia Sandu and addressed a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Marija Pejčinović Burić. The goal of the message is to engage the high-ranking European official as a mediator in the institutional conflict between the presidential administration and Parliament in order to restore the rule of law and return to constitutionality.
Zinaida Grechanyi’s accusations to the President are serious, but lack essence. That’s why their presentation to the European forums lacks consistency, primarily because from the message we must understand that only the personal mediation of the Secretary General of the CoE can help the main state institutions return to constitutionality. In fact, things are much more prosaic and are presented in a provincial way. What should the Secretary General of the CoE discover when examining the Moldovan Speaker’s approach? And what actions can the official take to contribute to restoring the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova? First of all, the Secretary General of the CoE should inform herself about the political essence of the conflict between the presidential administration and Parliament:
- The presidential administration and the parliamentary majority of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) and the Shor Party have differing views on the opportunity of dissolving Parliament and holding snap parliamentary elections;
- The presidential administration’s view is very rigid. It considers Parliaments should be dissolved and snap parliamentary elections should be held after three months of governmental crisis, as Article 85(1) of the Constitution provides;
- Speaker Zinaida Grechanyi’s view is oscillating, opportunistic. The PSRM, when being led by Zinaida Grechanyi, welcomed the resignation of the Chicu Government on December 23, 2020, which was aimed at triggering snap parliamentary elections. Later, the PSRM changed its attitude to the opportunity of dissolving Parliament for several times, under the influence of opinion polls and worsening pandemic situation;
- To justify her oscillating behavior, the Speaker and the Socialist parliamentary group accepted a compromise, forming a parliamentary majority with the group of the Shor Party, which represents the interests of the mafia and bandits (min.07.00-15.21), as they consider.
Probably, the conclusion of the Secretary General of the CoE would be that the Moldovan politicians are not good at doing calculations, develop ramified scenarios in order to display their visionary courage and change their stance when they see that things do not turn out as planned, invoking the necessity of obeying the constitutional norms. That’s why the Secretary General of the CoE, after she informs helrself about Moldovan politicians’ maneuvers, will transmit the request to the specialized bodies of the CoE for these to pronounce on the legal essence of the conflict. Evidently, given the role of the Constitutional Court (CC) of the Republic of Moldova in solving constitutional issues, the vicious circle of the complaint will be probably closed this way.
Eluding role of Constitutional Court
Zinaida Grechanyi’s message to the Secretary General of the CoE has only one goal – to elude the role of the Constructional Court in solving the dispute between the presidential administration and Parliament. The main conclusion is that the Speaker and the Socialist parliamentary group anticipate a particular response form the CC to President Maia Sandu’s application concerning the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament. This is the only reason why the Speaker decided to anticipate things by making a complaint to the CoE. By such an action, they probably aim to exert pressure on the CC so as to delay the examination of the application for the reason that the CoE could become somehow involved in the dispute between the presidential administration and Parliament. It is a wrong move and it is highly improbable that the CoE will fall into such a trap.
First of all, the European institutions got used to the utilization of imprecisely defined legal terms by the Moldovan politicians. The invoking in the message to the CoE of the usurpation of the power is absolutely useless. Evidently, the usurpation of the power can be invoked when the sovereign people are hampered by stratagems or by brutal use of force to exercise the power directly or through the agency of their representatives. In the concrete conflict between the presidential administration and Parliament, the situation is absolutely different – the presidential administration, which is accused of usurpation of the power, insists on the solving of a political-legal dispute through the direct involvement of the citizens, who are invited to elections.
Secondly, it is opportune to encourage, not to undermine the CC’s effort to adjust the own case law concerning the relations between the presidential administration and Parliament. Regrettably, the CC’s case law in this field remains sinusoidal, bearing the imprint of the previous compromise. Therefore, we can assert that the provisions of the CC’s judgment on the circumstances that justify the dissolution of Parliament are by far unpredictable. The CC is to find a middle-ground solution, maneuvering between three pillars of the own case law that was developed in time, in absolutely different circumstances:
- “regardless of the circumstances that determined the absence of a vote of confidence, the failure to form the new Government within three months inevitably leads to the dissolution of Parliament. An outgoing Government with an acting Prime Minister cannot be perpetual (par. 76)”;
- If an absolute formalized parliamentary majority is formed, the President of the Republic of Moldova is obliged to nominate the candidate proposed by this majority for Prime Minister. Given its own case law, the CC should determine if this clause also refers to the period coming after three months of interim governance;
- If the President of the Republic refuses to nominate the candidate for Prime Minister proposed by the formalized parliamentary majority, this situation should be solved through the angle of article 89 of the Constitution, which provides that the President of the Republic is suspended from post and dismissed.
We see that in the aforementioned circumstances, Zinaida Grechanyi’s request for the CoE to mediate the conflict between the presidential administration and Parliament is absolutely inopportune and even harmful.
The message of Speaker Zinaida Grechanyi to the Secretary General of the CoE is a serious political mistake. The invoking of the usurpation of the power by those who insist on the direct expressing of the people’s will in legislative elections is a proof of the full lack of understanding of what usurpation means.
The complaining to the CoE places the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Moldova in a bad light. The taking of a conflict between state institutions to the level of mediation of the Secretary General of the CoE is a sample of political infantilism. This means the PSRM , which asked for the CoE’s mediation, wants a decision from outside to be provided to an internal conflict, eluding the procedures and role of the state institutions.
By the approach made by the Parliament Speaker, the PSRM and its leaders show that they do not trust the state institutors in whose reconfiguration they took part in 2019. Moreover, a the forming of a coalition by the PSRM with forces that were earlier accused by it of being representatives of the mafia and the bandits – the Shor Party and dispersed fragments of Plahotniuc’s part - shows that the PSRM slips towards covering the obscure interests of the fugitive politicians.
Leaving aside the dispute between the presidential administration and Parliament, we must admit that the political class in the Republic of Moldova is irresponsible. If it had been differently, the politicians would have sat at the negotiating table to find a happy solution to renovate the composition of Parliament, given the impact of the pandemic crisis on the eventual elections. It seems that we know what the cause of the irresponsibility is – amateurism of chess players who permanently cheat, eroding eventual partners’ confidence.