Alexandru SOLCAN // Politics, between playing chess and „shithead”
Giving up or wise decision?
PD's decision to withdraw its candidate from the presidential race was more than surprising. At the end of the campaign, it was like a thunderbolt in full fall, which shook the national political field. However, always, gives up the wise one. We may also say "most powerful", because wisdom can provide social power. All the excitement that followed shows that some politicians approach politics as a chess game, and others - as an ordinary card game - "shithead".
Lose the battle but win the war
In politics, the long-term calculations (i.e. strategies!) are essential. And they are drawn up from a major purpose: the perpetuation in governance. Tactics, in turn, serve for the implementation of strategies. Mistakes in political strategies formulation and implementation can be fatal. To evaluate strategies, it is important to analyze contexts.
We have a current frame and another one more distant. The current context is obviously marked by the electoral campaign. And games, usually, cannot be changed. All that can be done is just trying to somehow change their vision. The strategic approach requires a deeper vision, and foresight at the same time. Without such an analysis, (where, as we know, hides the unexpected) you miss the details.
Our political system adopted - as we know - parliamentary method of governance. This requires for participants in political competition - parliamentary elections. Legally, they are in two years. Very little time to trigger important changes. At the same time, reforms are not waiting, any procrastination is fatal; Republic of Moldova, perhaps, goes through the most difficult period since Independence. The banking crisis has affected the whole society. The reason of problems lies in the political system and the solution must be sought still there. Follows an extremely complicated period when reforms, difficult and unpopular, risky and dangerous under political aspect for those who have initiated them are inevitable. That is why it is vital a wider attraction of different political forces in this process: it diminishes from the populist message and the confrontation potential, which can be accumulated during reforms.
The history of transitions with systemic nature abounds in examples, when reformers paid politically for the changes. Usually, others enjoy (if caught, because in most cases it is awaited) the political benefits. So, it is in the interest of the initiators of the reforms in the process of changing to attract as many political forces, including potential political opponents.
The electoral context
As we know, in compliance with the Constitution, the president's powers are modest. Meanwhile, in the general mindset - marked by paternalism - the presidency is one of the institutions of power, which generates great expectations among citizens. This mindset allows some political forces in society to use the problems to monopolize political capital. Given that the main stake is, as I mentioned, the parliamentary elections (to which, moreover, remained very little time), it is rational by keeping control over the main state levers to share responsibility with potential competitors on the same side of the political spectrum. That is why, in our case, it is reasonable, rational and politically justified, the withdrawal of the democratic candidate from the race in favor of a political competitor better positioned on the political scene.
Why Maia Sandu?
The democrats and followers of Maia Sandu share, largely the same electoral pool, so the battle is on the same political spectrum. However, unlike the Socialist leader also under pressure from development partners, Maia Sandu will have to support unpopular reforms, but necessary one, dictated by the implementation of the Association Agreement. An eventual victory of Dodon is less suitable for PD, because it's another electoral pool that government can count on only partially, and you can recruit only after tangible results. Meanwhile, chosen as president and speculating problems and hardships, PSRM leader will have an additional platform to promote his populist message, perpetuating a state of confrontation, social and political instability.
Without realizing it, Maia Sandu and her political partners have swallowed this lure, and now will have to play till the end. Insulting and offensive statements to those who offer support is betraying the confusion and frustration in the camp of the single candidate. These days, like feeling something, PAS candidate was warning that PSRM and PD were preparing something to put her in embarrassing positions. A worse political positioning is hard to invent. In case of failure, the excuse is ready: Marian Lupu's withdrawal was made in favor of Igor Dodon. Well, quite wrong! The apolitical and arrogant behavior of the PAS leader has made some candidates - sharing the same electoral pool as Sandu - to cancel plans to withdraw from the race. That most likely will send the elections in the second round, where Maia Sandu will not have anyone to blame.