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news 17 Oct 17

Moldova’s Pro-European Opposition Plans United Campaign

The two main pro-European opposition parties in Moldova announced they will run joint electoral lists in the 2018 polls, after the country introduced a new electoral system which favours the major parties.

Madalin Necsutu
BIRN
Chișinău
Chisinau city centre. Photo: Flickr/Clay Gilliland.

Moldova’s main pro-European opposition parties agreed on Monday to run joint lists for the 2018 parliamentary elections amid concerns that the new electoral system will help the larger parties.

The Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), the faction led by former pro-European presidential candidate Maia Sandu who lost against Pro-Russian Igor Dodon in November 2016, said that the offer came from the Dignity and Truth Platform Party (PPDA), led by former civic activist Andrei Nastase.

“We informed our partners that we are ready to participate in a joint list,” PAS said in a press release on Monday.

Moldova’s parliament is currently dominated by the Democratic Party, led by tycoon Vladimir Plahotniuc, while the opposition is led by president Dodon’s pro-Russian’s Socialists.

The two pro-European factions do not have any MPs in the country’s legislature.

PPDA leader Nastase argued that preparations for the parliamentary elections had to be made on time, so that the two parties can synchronise their political and electoral agendas.

“Our wish for unity is addressed to all emergent political forces, but it requires a responsible approach, [which is] mutually respectful,” Nastase wrote on his Facebook page.

“It also requires respect for our citizens, who are sick of statements and political press releases about polls, mechanisms and algorithms, which are not followed by concrete, tangible facts,” he added.

Nastase withdrew from the presidential race in 2016 and pledged support for the PAS’s Maia Sandu.

The move to establish joint lists comes after the ruling Democratic Party and the Socialist opposition made a deal and replaced the country’s list-based proportional system with a mixed electoral system.

This was enacted despite warnings from the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe advisory body on constitutional law, that the new format favours the bigger parties.

The joint list proposal has received mixed reactions.

Nicolae Negru, a commentator for the Ziarul National newspaper, wrote that however strange it might seem, the electoral performance of the two pro-European parties in the upcoming legislative elections depends on how the current ruling Democratic Party, which has adopted a pro-European stance but faces corruption allegations, performs in government.

Negru said that “part of the pro-European voters see the Democratic Party as the supreme evil in Moldovan politics”.

But if other pro-European voters are disillusioned by its performance in government, they might not vote for anyone “including the PAS and other pro-European parties”, he suggested.

However political analyst Ion Tabarta said the joint list was a positive move and that other pro-European right-wing parties, such as the Liberal Party (PL) or the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), should also join in.

Tabirta said that he believes having joint lists increases the chances for both parties.

“I think this decision should [also] be made by other pro-European parties, especially the Liberal Democrats and the Liberals. I think this decision is a logical one,” he added.

An opinion survey published by Chisinau-based Institute for Development and Social Initiatives Viitorul at the beginning of October suggested that if the polls were held now, only the Socialists and PAS would make it into parliament.

The survey put the Socialists on 26 per cent with PAS on 12 per cent.

None of the other Moldovan parties, including the ruling Democrats, would obtain more than the necessary five per cent to enter the legislature, the poll suggested.

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