23 July. — At 2 pm local time, Moldova’s Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM), Democratic Party (PDM), and Liberal Party (LP) signed an agreement for the formation of the third Alliance for European Integration. (The first two were in 2009 and 2010.) Perhaps the most important issue for the new coalition is the continuation of its existence. “We either rule, or we resign,” stated LP leader Mihai Ghimpu.
The ruling coalition is distinguished this year by lengthy negotiations about its formation and a short existence. Discussions about the alliance of the parties lasted nearly two months early this year, but the minority government, a creation of the PLDM and PDM, lasted a little over 100 days. In addition, it was accompanied by constant scandals involving, among other things, corruption, fraud, and blocking reforms.
As a result, the Liberal Democratic faction lost three deputies in half a year’s time as they preferred becoming independent. And the deterioration of the political situation was so impetuous and painful that the country has caused disappointment within the European Union and International Monetary Fund and resulted in the freezing of the financial support programme.
After Chiril Gaburici tendered his resignation from the post of prime minister in mid-June because of allegations that he falsified his education credentials, the parties had until 12 September to discuss the coalition’s structure. However, they spent little over a month in negotiations. This comparatively quick outcome was achieved thanks to compromises that the Liberal Democrats agreed to. For the sake of forming a majority government, they conceded some of the ministerial portfolios to the Liberals.
They were given posts in four ministries. (They had not participated in the previous coalition.) The Democrats will have six instead of seven. The Liberal Democrats will retain six portfolios plus the post of prime minister (instead of nine). Maia Sandu has already been named as the candidate for the premiership. She has been serving as education minister since 2012.
Alliance leaders have outlined their work priorities. The most important thing for them is to guarantee the government’s smooth operation, which will make it possible to resume European integration and unfreeze financial assistance. They also intend to conduct reforms directed at improving the judicial system and eliminating poverty and corruption.
Additionally, the alliance promised to hold a referendum on changing Article 78 of the Constitution, which concerns presidential elections. The president is currently elected by parliamentary deputies in two attempts whereby the candidate must receive 61 votes. The amendment will introduce three rounds with a lowered threshold – 61, 57 and 51. It is thought that this will make it significantly easier for the ruling party to achieve the election of a new president in 2016. (The alliance currently has only 52 seats in parliament.)
The opposition Socialist Party, which has the largest faction in parliament, reacted critically to the formation of the new ruling coalition. They accuse the government of corruption and a mistaken approach to foreign policy. The Socialists are also protesting against increased utility rates.