TOP 10 political events in 2011
2011 was a year full of political events. In general, this year was characterized by political instability triggered by the constitutional deadlock that has been lingering for almost three years. Yet, there were a lot of domestic and external political events with major impact on the public life. Here is TRIBUNA’s rating of the top 10 political events in 2011.
1) 20 years of independence of the Republic of Moldova
It was one of the most beautiful events of the year. At the end of August the politicians forgot of their rivalry for a couple of days and made a common front becoming (with minor exceptions) one whole. This was the only moment throughout the year when there was some kind of peace in the country, when the country was the first priority for our politicians.
2) Establishment of Filat II Government
This was the most important event at the beginning of the year. The new Government was sworn in right after the winter holidays. The leaders of the right-wing and centre-right parliamentary parties, having managed to reach a common ground regarding the creation of a coalition and a democratic government, conveyed a positive message to the society and abroad that Moldova will stick to reforms and the European integration path. Yet, the squabbles and tension within the coalition significantly curtailed the weight of this positive message the country started the new year with.
3) Local election
The local election kept on toes the whole country for over two months. The pre-electoral atmosphere and the electoral one almost paralyzed all the government entities, brought out the rivalry between the parties and increased the political tension in the society. The good part was that people could see what the price of each party is and what its place in the society is. It also cooled the enthusiasm of the parties and made them look with more responsibility at the political processes in the country.
4) Presidential election
The members of the parliament tried twice to elect the head of the state – on November 18 and December 16. The first attempt was unsuccessful because there was no candidate to run for the office and election was found invalid. The second time the only candidate running for office was Marian Lupu, who was supported by 58 MPs of the Alliance for European Integration. He still needed three more votes to be elected. The failure of these attempts exacerbated the political deadlock and revealed the inability of the parliamentarians to reach common ground.
5) Resumption of 5+2 talks
2011 was quite productive with regard to the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. After a 6-year break a decision was made in September in Moscow to resume the 5+2 talks and the first round of talks was held in Vilnius in the period of November 30 – December 1. Credit for the resumption of the talks must be given to the joint efforts of the parties, mediators and observers. If we look at the ongoing contacts between Chisinau and Tiraspol throughout the whole year, and the changes brought about by the so-called presidential election in Transnistria, the prospects of settling the Transnistrian conflict are quite good.
6) Joseph Biden’s visit
The trip of the U.S. Vice President to Chisinau in March can rightly be considered a historic one. Joseph Biden conveyed a strong message of support for the reforms and European integration path of Moldova, thus increasing the credit of trust in the new governance. It also had a positive impact on the regional positioning of Moldova, as the American official made it clear that Moldova should become part of the big family of the European democracies.
7) Raider attack
In summer (or better say at the end of July) Moldova was the target of an international scandal – five European shareholders of a bank in Moldova became the target of a raider attack and were stripped of their shares. The Moldovan authorities had much trouble with this attack, which jeopardized both the stability of the banking system and the image of the country. Even if the shareholders have recovered their lost shares in the end of the day, this scandal had large-scale political consequences. The Director of the Security and Intelligence Service was sacked; the chairman of the National Commission for Financial Market resigned and the Prosecutor General was on the brink of being dismissed too.
8 ) Eastern Partnership Summit
The Eastern Partnership Summit was a real success for the Republic of Moldova. The participants adopted a Statement recognizing and saluting Moldova’s European aspirations, noting the progress of the negotiations on the Association Agreement with the EU, calling Moldova a model for the countries working on visa liberalization and giving the green light to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The experts think that this Summit has lifted the cooperation between Moldova and the EU to a broader scale.
9) Consultations between the Prime Minister and the civil society
It is for the first time ever that a Prime Minister had consultations with the civil society. The consultations initiated in July lasted for over two weeks and ended with clear proposals as to how to improve the performance of the Government, recommendations with regard to governmental reshuffle, the need to put in place additional mechanisms to increase transparency and ensure a better cooperation between the authorities and the civil society. The impact of these consultations was perceived in autumn as well, echoing in some of the political events.
10) Start of negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU
The launch of the official negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement marked, according to the experts, the shift to a new stage in the Moldova-EU relations. Their success will bring about not only a wider access of Moldovan businesses to the EU market and increased appeal of our country for potential investors, but also a clearer prospect of a Moldova-EU Association Agreement. In fact, once signed, this Agreement and the Visa-Free Agreement will remove all the barriers to the free movement of goods and citizens across the EU.
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