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Moldova’s political deadlock: Europe, US searching for ways out

October 19, 2015, 17:10 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
Moldova's Parliament during a voting session

Moldova's Parliament during a voting session


MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The permanent political crisis in Moldova that has deteriorated recently is far from being resolved, Russian experts have told TASS.

Tensions escalated after the arrest of the former prime minister and the leader of one of the parties of the ruling pro-European coalition, Vlad Filat, accused of involvement in stealing $1 billion from three banks. The Moldovan opposition also continues its mass protests since June, calling for the government's resignation and early elections. Experts see no single way out of the political deadlock and forecast further uncertainty and more tensions.

In 2009, the coalition of three parties — the Democratic, the Liberal and the Liberal-Democratic (that was led by Filat) — united in the Alliance for European Integration managed to secure one deputy’s seat more than the Communists and oust them from power.

But no European integration occurred despite the pledges. The coalition was split by differences between the parties and inside the parties accompanied by high-profile corruption scandals as the country continued further falling into poverty.

It’s no surprise that the protest movement in Moldova is on such a large scale. The key role here was devoted to the non-political alliance Dignity and Truth (DA). Simultaneously but apart, Moldova’s Our Party of Renato Usatii and the Socialist Party of Igor Dodon, which local mass media say are pro-Russian, participate in this movement.

Due to numerous scandals, the anti-rating of the ruling pro-European parties of Moldova has topped record levels while the rating of left-wing forces started growing instead.

Brussels, which earlier praised Moldova as a "European success story," began sharply criticising the country’s authorities after the bank fraud and urged them to step up the anti-corruption fight.

Many experts believe that the EU is behind the DA movement, saying Brussels seeks to oust politicians who have discredited themselves.

"The idea of European integration has been strongly discredited in the eyes of common voters of Moldova due to the talentless governance of the coalition," historian Maxim Artemyev wrote on the Actual Comments portal.

"On the contrary, the idea of strategic partnership with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union is becoming more popular. According to some data, 60% of the country’s population call for this, and at the referendum in Gagauzia a year-and-a-half ago around 98% of voters called for joining the Customs Union."

However, the expert said it was wrong to believe that Moldova would be heading in the "eastern direction." The majority of DA participants call unambiguously for European integration, and the pro-Russian bloc of parties and political forces in Moldova is split. "So, the forecast is unpromising. The country is doomed to remain in crisis for a rather long time," the observer added.

The possibility of holding early elections depends on the activity of protesters and the unity of their actions, the head of the department for Moldova and Transdniestria of the CIS Countries Institute, Sergey Lavrenov, told TASS.

"There is no unity between the DA actions on the one hand and the Socialist Party and Our Party, although formally their demands are similar," he said. "Formally, there are not so many chances for presidential elections now as this envisages the voluntary resignation of the president and he strongly disagrees with this, the expert said.

"It seems to me that the major events will be postponed until March next year, when the presidential elections are scheduled by parliament. But various options are possible that are difficult to forecast. The opposition demands nationwide presidential elections. It is not ruled out that an attempt will be made to discredit the actions of the pro-Russian forces," he said.

No doubt, the EU had an impact on events in Moldova, Lavrenov said. "Formally, Moldova’s authorities are European integrators who have been caught stealing and discredited the European integration idea. A difficult game with various scenarios is under way: the EU searches for figures who have not yet discredited themselves."

Americans also sought to influence events. "As Romania is one of the active allies of the US in the region, it is not ruled out that Americans will intensify the unionist project - Moldova’s reunification with Romania. It comes as no surprise that the speaker of Moldova’s parliament, Andrian Candu, has suggested holding a consultative referendum on reunification of Moldova and Romania as the only way out of the situation." For Americans, this option is the most favourable one, the expert says.