Alexandru Solcan // The crowd at the presidential elections. The purposes and stakes in the electoral decor.
Shortly, the electoral campaign will begin for the presidential elections from October 30th, 2016. The parties that are governing and those from the opposition named their favorites. The protagonists of the voting are doing the last preparations before the start. We will also have independent candidates. I believe they will succeed at gathering the needed number of votes. The staffs are working hard on the electoral programs and the collection of signatures. Although, the crowd at the presidency is a huge one, there are few real candidates. Anyway, the excitement is there and this will make the show interesting. However, after everything ends and the decor will be removed, what will remain for us. This is the question. Let us analyze the purposes and stakes of the presidential aspirants, and, especially of those who are in the backstage.
If we take as a reference the position of the candidates and also the parties they are representing, in the recent polls we can identify several candidates who can win or influence the final result. To begin with, we operate with a longer list at which we will come back later. Taking into account the surveys, analyzes and predictions, the main candidates are: Igor Dodon (PSRM), Dumitru Ciubasenco (PN), Marian Lupu (PD), Andrei Nastase (PDA), Maia Sandu (PAS), Iurie Leanca (PPEM), Mihai Ghimpu (PL). I have placed the candidates on an imaginary political spectrum from left to right, realizing the relativity of this classification when it comes to parties or political leaders from our country. A first surprise on the eve of the campaign was provided by PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin, who declared the party's intention to boycott the elections. We may have other surprises, that is why we will return to the chances of candidates after September 9th, when will end the deadline for the submission of candidates.
The main subjects of the campaign, as I was mentioning in a previous text, will be two: the corruption and the geopolitical vector. The corruption subject will be raised by the governing parties and the opposition ones. As the revelations from the public space show, allegations of corruption surrounding both the government representatives and the opposition candidates or the forces behind them. Therefore, the opposition will accuse the government of corruption, and the government, in turn, will position itself as an active fighter against corruption, bringing evidence of his opponents' involvement in corruption. The arrest and extradition of Veaceslav Platon to the authorities from Chisinau, apparently was not part of some opposition representatives' plans. The Government will use all its available resources to discredit the opponents. There will probably be new figures in the cases related to money laundering and theft of the billion. There are enough skeletons in the closet for sure. It will be interesting.
The second subject, the geopolitical vector was present in all the electoral campaigns in the Republic of Moldova. The campaign for the presidential elections from 2016 will not be an exception. The last sociological study done by IMAS confirms the fact that the geopolitical divide is the one who continues to determine the results of the elections in the Republic of Moldova. Are we moving to West, towards European Union, by achieving the provisions of the Association Agreement, or are we returning to the Eastern zone, in the Eurasian Customs Union? After 25 years of independence the society still remains focused on the sovereignty problems, history, language.
We may identify more factors that regulate the continuance of the geopolitical factor in the Moldovan elections. Mainly, it concerns, however, the socioeconomic development of the country. The very low standard of living of the citizens, that continues during the whole time since the independence has fueled the trends of idealization of the Soviet past. The option to return to the Eastern zone is supported by the nostalgic ones, who in turn can be divided into two groups: those who from the beginning were against the dissolution of the USSR and those disillusioned by the course and results of the reforms. The nostalgic camp, over time, was completed by the former Soviet nomenclature, representatives of national minorities and cohabiting ethnic groups, as well as citizens complaining about wealth and uncertain prospects. The nostalgic camp, over time, was completed by the former Soviet nomenclature, representatives of national minorities and different cohabiting ethnic groups and citizens not happy with wealth and uncertain prospects.
They want a greater proximity to Russia as a direct descendant of the defunct USSR. Massive pro-Russian spirit is maintained by the propaganda of the Russian media, which seized, according to some analyzes, is about 80 percent of the information space between the Dniester and Prut. This managed to fully compensate for the failures of Russia in foreign policy, especially after the annexation of Crimea and causing conflict in southeast Ukraine. All these include the basic electorate of PSRM, PN and partly PCRM. By the way, the Communists boycotting the presidential elections substantially increases the chances of Igor Dodon and partly of Marian Lupu. According to recent polls, electoral pool is the pro-Russian for more than 40 percent of Moldovan citizens. We must admit, it is a very high percentage, considering the precarious internal situation in Russia today, and image crisis in the international arena the Kremlin goes through.
The other group consists of European integration supporters. They, as a rule are from the ranks of local intellectuals, youth and the active population. Some of them who complain about delaying reforms, lack of good changes and prospects at home, emmigrated. The hard core of the followers of European integration are the unionists. They see unification with Romania as the shortest way to European Union membership. The Union - a goal that has experienced periods of ebbs and flows. After the peak lived in the early 90s of the last century, the unionism declined during the Communist period. Now we are seeing an increase in unionist options, partly because of the precarious situation in which the Moldovan society is. The latest poll shows an increase of the union followers, but not so high as speculated in some statements. The subject was re-launched with a greater intensity, by the reactions to statement of the US Ambassador in Chisinau, James Pettit. US Ambassador's declarations must be analyzed in a broader context, we notice only now that the union was returned to the agenda with a new intensity and no doubt it will be a topic of the election campaign. Some will try to fish for votes among union followers, others among their opponents.
If we try to analyze the position of the competitors for the presidency, we see some strange things altogether. Some parties, who are pro-European at first sight advocate for early elections. I mean the PLDM, PAS and PDA. Early elections were the main requirement of most of the leadership of these parties a year ago, when the protests of the civic platform DA united them, even if PDA and PAS were to be recorded later as political parties. It should be noted that at that time all the surveys and analyzes accredited the pro-Russian parties, PSRM and PN as winners of possible earlier parliamentary elections. The paradox is that, insisting on anticipated elections the "pro-European" parties are bringing in fact at the governance the pro-Russian parties, which is why quotation marks were put. Now, presidential candidates from PSRM, PN, PDA, PAS are not hiding that one of the main objectives, once in the wanted position, is the challenge of the early elections. The other parties PD, PL, PPEM opt for a continuance of the process begun after the Filip government was installed namely focusing on the implementation of the Association Agreement.
As we can see the anticipated parliamentary elections is a goal that unites both pro-Russian camp and some of those who declare themselves pro-European. The strange position occupied by these "pro-European"parties, as long as the result of early elections remains uncertain, and hence the country's European course. Perhaps in the option to choose the anticipated elections of the parties declared pro-European, prevails interest of a group that is trying to change the government in order to influence the investigation of the theft of billion and the trial of former Prime Minister Filat linked to it and the newest possible revelations once starting a new trial this time on the name of Veaceslav Platon.
Not much time left until the start of the electoral campaign for the presidential election. The political subjects continue to provide more politicy than the citizens are able to consume. Handling mechanisms increase their speed. It is important to carefully follow what are the true goals and stakes of the candidates and parties and interest groups behind them. It all starts. We are watching them.