Who Has Benefitted from the Failure of the Referendum in Moldova?

Moldova should have held a Constitutional Referendum on the procedure of Presidential Elections. However due to extremely low voter turnout (less than 30% of voters came) the plebiscite was announced as failed. Already in few weeks Moldavian Parliament will be released and on November 21st the country will hold the third early Parliamentary Elections.

Supposed, that the Referendum would allow to introduce corresponding amendments into the Constitution of the country and to implement the procedure of direct elections of the President, and thus to get the country out of the political dead-end.

Sociologic polls proved that the majority of population in Moldova (more than 70%) supports the idea of direct elections of the head of the state. The kind of a high level of public support of the specified initiative made a bad joke to the current Moldavian authorities, acting as an ideologist of the Referendum.

Some leaders of the Alliance-in-power were prone to think that these 70% automatically meant the level of the support of the current authorities’ actions,and that is why they began to cook a hare before catching it.

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In practice during recent months there has been an unofficial presidential race in the country between main candidates on this post, and it didn’t look likean illustrating campaign within the context of the Referendum. The streets of Kishinev and a number of other Moldavian cities were full of agitation banners with the current Prime Minister of Moldova Vlad Filat, the Chairman of the Democratic Party and a failed candidate from the ruling Alliance during the last elections of the President of the country Marian Lupu, and also the acting President of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu. As a result many people in Moldova came to the Referendum to vote for a definite candidate for the Presidential post! Kindly speaking, they were greatly frustrated when on the polling station they didn’t receive ballot papers with the names of the candidates...

The Leader of Moldavian Communists Vladimir Voronin initially was almost excluded from this Presidential race, with the announcement of the corresponding Constitutional Court decision, according to which even in case of the introduction of amendments into the Constitution of Moldova, he was deprived of the right to run as a candidate as a person who occupied this position twice. As a result the Communists actively started to call people to boycott the Constitutional Referendum under the pretence of the need to save budget funds. West, which extremely negative towards the potential Communistic revanche in Moldova, has given to the ruling Alliance a full card-blanche related to the Constitutional Referendum, having named it in advance as transparent and democratic.

Thus, the established terms were frankly speaking really favorable for the Referendum. Analyze yourself: the population supports the idea of direct Presidential Elections, West will be obliged to acknowledge the results, the Referendum  is a key springboard for the Presidential Elections, by this the main competitor of the Alliance is excluded from the race, i.e. the competition will include only “those who fit”. The only threat of the failure of this “perfect” scheme was the apathy of voters, who could simply ignore the Referendum. But in case the Alliance has also backed up by introducing the changes into the Electoral Code to reduce the lower limit of the voter turnout to the one third of the constituency.

Naturally, in the kind of terms Moldavian authorities didn’t think that the problem could appear where they didn’t expect it. Each politician in Moldova thought of his PR-dividends within the
context of future Presidential Elections, meanwhile every ordinary citizen of this country, probably, thought that his neighbor will go voting instead of him. As a result, Moldavian authorities lacked minimum to achieve maximum.

Who has benefited from the failure of the Referendum in Moldova? Within a local level it’s, naturally, the Communists who now enjoy their triumph over the thrown away 3.5 million USD by Moldavian Government, which doesn’t really promote the rating of the current power. The Communistic Party is sure, that in course of the following Parliamentary Elections it will manage, if not to get back to power, then at least to enhance its positions within the Parliament and the country in general.

People in Transnistria also rejoice – the absence of stable power in Kishinev gives a great opportunity for Tiraspol to keep on blocking the negotiation process and to maintain thus the existing status-quo within the process of Transnistria regulation.

Within a more extended context Russia benefited from the failure of the Referendum, having thoroughly observed the domestic processes in Moldova recently. As Moscow thinks the reason for the pressure grow on Kishinev is the “incorrect” line of the acting President Mihai Ghimpu, who regularly makes pro-Romanian and simultaneously anti-Russian remarks. That is why the suspension of Moldavian wine export to Russia, the raise of gas prices for Moldova, demonstrative support of the “Transnistria Moldavian Republic” is presented for the international community as a educatory effect on some right-wing Moldavian authorities, pushing Moldova into the orbit of Romania. But if to omit this “cover up”, a feeling appears that behaving itself this way the Kremlin has set much more serious goal within this game, than to discredit Pro-Romanian temporary President of Moldova. Hardly one day after the next elections will he take such a high position as now. Most likely, they are talking about the analysis of a potential accomplishment of Russian initiatives on Transnistria conflict regulation know as the “plan of Kozak” in this or that interpretation. Let’s remind, that this plan anticipates the federalization of Moldova within the terms of maintenance of Moscow its dominating influence on the further development of this state.

Ukraine remains to be the hostage of the constitutional crisis in Moldova. Many efforts, undertaken by Kiev for the rapid solution of oldUkrainian-Moldavian problems (first of all, the issue of dispersal of ownership and joint boundary demarcation) can be in vain. Current Moldavian power, seems, won’t be able to demonstrate in practice before the elections earlier declared course on rapid solution of the problems with Ukraine. All the forecasts prove that future Parliamentary Elections in Moldova will hardly result into a firm victory of any of main political parties. Naturally, within the conditions of domestic instability in the country, the adoption of any decision by the authorities of Moldova within a foreign direction, including Ukrainian, will be temporary. In these terms Kiev most likely will have to search for independent ways of the solution of Ukrainian-Moldavian problems.

Translated by EuroDialogue XXI from Zerkalo nedeli