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Important4 April 2019 07:00

(INTERVIEW) Igor Dodon: Four scenarios remain in force at this stage!

The President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, during an interview for TRIBUNA portal, talked about recent consultations with parliamentary parties, scenarios on the creation of a parliamentary majority, about the possibility of early elections, but also about other important issues concerning the current political situation.

TRIBUNA: Mr President, how do you qualify the situation created after the two rounds of talks with the parliamentary factions?

I.D: The role of the President was a positive one at the beginning of the dialogue. You saw that there were two rounds, I first invited the parties separately, then – together. The situation has been unlocked, if it continues – it is already up to the parties that have the possibility to create the parliamentary majority.

I believe that, as the Russians say – «лёд тронулулся» (n.r. – ice cracked), but it is premature to say that we will reach a compromise. I see at this stage that the chances of early elections or the creation of a majority are: 60% – anticipated, 40% – finding a compromise.

T: What kind of coalition do you think is possible after these discussions?

I.D .: At this stage, in my opinion, four scenarios remain in force:

The first scenario – an informal or formal coalition, between PSRM and the Bloc NOW.

Second scenario – PSRM and PDM.

The third scenario – PDM with traitors.

Fourth scenario – early parliamentary elections.

All of these 4 scenarios are currently real.

T: How do you see these scenarios, given that you have participated in discussions with parliamentary parties, and that has the possibility to become a reality?

I.D .: 1. The Bloc NOW has a very strange position, if we speak in chess language, as president of Chess Federation to say – they are in the political Zugzwang. What does this mean? Zugzwang in chess is when any move worsens the situation of the one who plays. Therefore, I think that the decision not to discuss with anyone is a very categorical position of being elected as Speaker and Premier, given that they do not have sufficient mandates believe that this is a wrong tactic, but the decision belongs to them. Taking these elements into account, the first scenario is very difficult. I do not think anyone will go – no matter if it is socialists, democrats or other deputies, to vote for the Speaker and the Premier of the Bloc NOW, all the laws. In this case, what is the point of other parties to join Parliament? The Socialists offered the opportunity – they refused, the President offered the possibility – refused. At least, at this stage, they missed any possibility to change something in the Republic of Moldova. Any subsequent step will result in the PAS and YES losing their face. That’s Zugzwang. If they accept talks with the socialists, they do not respect their promises. If they do not accept and remain in the same position – they will not be understood by their electorate, and they will have problems in both local and anticipated elections in this regard.

2. The PSRM-PDM coalition, which is very much discussed, is a very difficult one. Even if there are compromises on several social projects, because socialists all these years had an agenda focused on social projects and it could be accepted by PDM, because last year Democrats also had a rather active social agenda, the divergences of political order and ideological are quite large. I do not think it will be easy to overcome all this. But it depends on these parties, how ready they are to do a compromise in the interest of creating a parliamentary majority.

3.The “political olivie” scenario. It’s quite realistic and I think the PDM could go along with this approach, but it is a very high legitimate risk. Even if the foreign partners, especially those in the West, close their eyes to such a scenario, in order to avoid the blockage, PDM will in any case have very high problems with foreign partners, especially the EU and the Federation Russian, domestic, especially economic, issues, and, with low legitimacy, will most likely not have access to external funding. And we could get a new blockage this autumn.

4. The scenario of Early Elections. It is the most realistic of all. The election could take place in the autumn. How do we get to them? In this scenario, no law, no decision, is voted in Parliament until 9 or 21 June. The Constitution stipulates very clearly that: in the course of 3 months, if no action is voted, Parliament may be dissolved by the President of the country. I would say, at this stage, that this is the most likely scenario of all four.

Important, however, is something else. What I have noticed after these discussions are that there are many attempts to create a parliamentary majority with a view to dismissing someone or against someone. I believe that the Republic of Moldova now does not just need to change a man or more, we need changing the system in general. We need a new approach that will give us a new stage, an epoch if you want, in the development of the Republic of Moldova. We do not just need to change a man from there or beyond. The problem is in the system in general. How do we have a different economic, social, balanced foreign politics approach? If it is such an approach to creating a parliamentary majority, then Moldova will take a step forward, but if it is just the approach of giving someone away for someone else, then where are we going ?! In 5-6 months, we are again in early elections, in a new blockade, in another political turbulence. Do we want to get through these things? I do not think citizens want that. But we will see what political actors will decide.

The President and the Presidency have done their part here. We could not remain indifferent, let things happen and intervene only if it is a parliamentary majority that will appoint a premier or if it is three months – to dissolve the parliament. I think we have done our best in our power, and the parties will decide.

T.: Under these circumstances, what will be the role of the President? You will have consultations prior to the appointment of the Prime Minister …

I.D .: I am required by law to participate in these consultations. And there are two further scenarios if we talk about the official role of the President. Unofficially, obviously, I will consult the socialists and they will consult with me – it is a known thing to say that this is not the case – it would not be right. Everyone understands that we are in constant contact and the PSRM is a pro-presidential party.

But the official position of the institution … If a parliamentary majority is created, through one of the three scenarios above – PSRM-NOW, PSRM-PDM, PDM- traitors, then the President is obliged to start talks on the appointment of a Premier, after the election of the Parliament. If there will be a coalition of parties, I will propose the candidacy of the Prime Minister forwarded by these parties. If it is scenario 3, namely PDM-traitors, I will not accept the nomination proposed by such a majority, which I consider illegitimate, and then, most likely, I will propose an application from the largest parliamentary party. Will it be supported by Parliament or not – we will see. In that case, 2-3 attempts are made and we go to early elections.

The second scenario. If no majority is created by the middle of June and they are going through the same 3 months, then we address the CC to find the necessary conditions for the dissolution of Parliament.

T .: But if a majority is created and a certain nomination will be proposed to the President, already established. How will you react?

I.D .: Depending on who is proposed, the President will come up with a position. But again, it all depends on whether such a majority will be, and this is only possible after the election of the leadership of Parliament. If the leadership of the Legislature is not chosen – we cannot reach the procedure for designating a Premier. We are stuck in this direction and do not see solutions. Because if the Bloc  NOW will insist that everyone to vote for the Speaker, the Prime Minister and all the laws, and you stay in one side and support us, it will be impossible. If there is no consensus between PDM and PSRM, it is obvious that the President of Parliament will also not be elected. Going for traitors is very risky for the Democrats because they did this exercise in 2016 and I do not think it is appropriate to go in the same approach in 2019, or now it is not the same tolerance outside the country as it was then. That is why I say: the chance of early elections is 60% and a coalition – 40%.

T .: But what about Moscow? Lately, several political analysts and journalists say that Moscow would have given you an ultimatum and would not accept a coalition, a PSRM-PDM government …

I.D.: For me, relations with the Russian Federation are very important, it is our strategic partner. We need good relations in terms of exports, migrants, energy resources that we receive. Obviously, these relationships matter to us, but I do not think it can be an ultimatum. Obviously, there are different messages, comments, political commentators, media sources, but they have always been – both in the East and in the West. We must always act on our national interests. Yes, the strategic partnership with the Russian Federation is important, but when we make a decision, we take it in the interest of our citizens.

I will take into account the official position of the Russian Federation, because I have official contacts with them – with the President, with officials in charge of bilateral relations. Obviously, we, too, are interested in the successes of the past 2-3 years, thanks to understandings of President Dodon with President Putin, to continue. Obviously, for continuity, we need to have a government, a parliamentary majority that can talk to Moscow. That is why we will take into account, at the official level but not at the level of commentators. But it is not about the ultimatum and we do not think that we must allow ourselves to put ultimatums and that someone to put ultimatums on us. Yes, we understand that we are a small country, but if we do not go after the national interest and we will emerge from the ultimatums said by the political commentators in the East or West, the Republic of Moldova will not have a future and we will all be cast from one wave to another. But if we emerge from the national interest, honestly, with a clear position, then, even if someone from the East or the West will not be satisfied, he will respect us, because we have our position sooner or later.

T .: If, however, we reach early elections, do not you think we can have the same results and there is a risk of getting to the same post-electoral situation?

I.D .: I think it is difficult and premature to say because we do not know what the circumstances will be, the domestic and regional geopolitical situation in the autumn. We do not know what will be the economic, budgetary situation in the Republic of Moldova in the autumn. There are several things. Obviously we could reach the same result, the same parties, but I believe that after a parliamentary exercise the parties will be more constructive in discussions, without ultimatums and, I think, the society could accept any kind of coalition and any alliance, already and these early elections could be an extra filter for parties. But we can also have surprises, changes, very drastic results. I would not come now with prognoses, all the more – if we admit the situation that early elections could take place with ordinary local elections.

T .: For now, the date of local elections is not set. How could happen with early parliamentary elections? As you said above, we are talking about the end of September and beginning of October …

I.D .: According to legislation, the mandate of local elected representatives expires in June. Therefore, the local elections should take place, in the end, June or beginning of July, but the issue is that the approval of the date of local elections is the exclusive competence of Parliament. If we do not have the leadership of the Parliament, no decisions can be made, so we cannot determine the date of the elections. If we cannot determine the date of the local elections, we need to find a legal solution – through the Constitutional Court – to give these powers to the President or the Government or to prolong the mandates of local elected representatives, for example in September – October, that the local elections take place once with the early parliamentary elections. And if the local elections take place with the parliamentary ones, it can also be an interesting situation that will influence the score of the early elections as well.

T .: Mr President, on Sunday, we are celebrating 10 years since the events on April 7, 2009. How do you see this in 2019?

I.D .: There were several committees of inquiry in this regard, which did not give any results. I remain in the position that it was a coup attempt. I was in this building in this office on April 7, 10 years ago. I remember quite clearly what was in the street, but I also remember the desire of the young people who went out into the street to change things for the better. 10 years have passed. Those who then shouted “down,” now again shout “down.” And the country is led by those who came 10 years ago, following this coup attempt. They are in government. Therefore, the goal has not been achieved. They have been brought to the government under democratic slogans, but the situation has worsened in many respects, and that is what knows everyone.

And those who once again shout “down,” and they were in the government, probably should also take some responsibility for this. It is regrettable what happened 10 years ago, it is a black spot in the contemporary history of the Republic of Moldova, which, regretfully, did not change the situation for the better. It is a major disappointment for those who wanted changes then and so they did not see them, they were misled, they were used by political leaders to achieve their personal goals. Some of them are in prison, others have left politics, others are trying to go into politics or government with the same slogans, but we have to ask “What has changed?” They are the same people, the same slogans. Maybe it’s time to let other forces to govern, come the left to govern, it has not been in government for 10 years. The political left – voted by more than half of the citizens, since 2009, has not been in government. And we have these 10 years of economic, social, political disaster. These tangible practices in politics have arisen during this period – to create the majority of traitors, etc. Maybe it is time to end this period and start another stage – to come left politics to govern, the left-centre, the socialists because they are the centre-left, as a basic formation and around this party to create a parliamentary majority and let’s see what is their approach. We have seen what the right politics has done for 10 years. The political right came to power after the events of 7 April 2009 and since then governs the Republic of Moldova. We saw what they can do, let’s give a chance to the left the politics. They have more abilities and possibilities to change things for the better. And the investigations must be continued and we need to find out, sooner or later, what was 10 years ago.

T .: What are the lessons that citizens have to learn on the basis of those events of 7 April 2009?

I.D .: Citizens have to learn one thing – “not everything flying is eaten”, or in Russian – “Не все то золото, что блестит” (n.r. – not everything that shines is gold). And I think you understand what I mean. Those who shouted in front of the presidency “down” and “vote for us, that we will do better” – see what are the consequences. I think this must be a basic lesson.

Cristina Gurez

Translator: Mihaela Grosu

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