Opposition wins parliamentary elections in Transnistria

President Yevgeny Shevchuk has now to get used to even stronger opposition. Credits: News Transnistria

President Yevgeny Shevchuk has now to get used to even stronger opposition. Credits: News Transnistria

2 Dec. — The Central Election Commission of Transnistria officially announced the final results of the parliamentary elections held three days prior. Victory went to the rivals of the incumbent president Yevgeny Shevchuk. This is a clear signal that he will be leaving office after presidential elections in 2016. The current makeup of the Supreme Council, however, might not make this necessary.

The significance of the parliamentary elections was explained earlier by the president himself. Because of the strong opposition in the Supreme Council, he was not able to push through necessary legislation during the entire time of the convocation. “This year (2015 – Ed.) the Supreme Council only approved five presidential bills. Throughout the entire period of their term, the deputies have supported less than half of 200 documents submitted by the head of state,” Shevchuk said in a public address.

Such announcements have caused many to think that the stakes in the struggle for control over parliament have hit the upper limit. But warnings of a large-scale “war of compromising materials” and “social upheaval” notwithstanding, the election campaign in the PMR was rather inert. Against the backdrop of a tough economic situation, personal exposés or geopolitical objectives found zero resonance among the population. The president’s team and those backed by Sheriff, the country’s largest holding – this was chiefly the party “Renewal” – whilst hurling accusations at each other, still talked more about the economy.

Elections to the Supreme Council of the unrecognised republic were held on 29 November. 137 candidates, chosen by a majority system, participated in them. There was a turnout of 47%. In 33 out of 43 districts, victory went to supporters of the country’s largest party, Renewal, as well as independent candidates affiliated with it. Among them are members of Sheriff management and the organisations under its control.

According to universal opinion, parliamentary elections are a rehearsal for presidential ones. The current results attest that Shevchuk is not supported by the majority of the population and lacks sufficient administrative leverage on the ground. In such a situation, his loss to a candidate from Renewal seems a foregone conclusion.

However, it is not necessarily the case that the head of state will be replaced. The party has a constitutional majority in parliament, which allows it to control all legislative activities, and the deputies’ immunity eliminates any risk of extra-parliamentary persecution. In these circumstances, there is no longer any need to wage a struggle for the post of president. Whatever strong disagreements there may be between the head of state and his former party, he must learn to coexist with it now.

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