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13 November 2016. Igor Dodon is elected as Moldova's President

17:06 | 12.11.2021 Category:

After a break of 20 years, elections of Moldova’s President took place by direct and general voting on 30 October and 13 November 2016. Yet, to understand the peculiarities of this moment, it is necessary to recall some logical things, at the first blush, but ridiculous and primitive, if to analyze them more in detail.    

In Moldova’s contemporary history, the presidential institution underwent more transformations, often inopportune, amateurish and in certain cases, with an obvious badly disguised political interest. After those two ballots from 1991 and 1996, during which the presidents were elected by general voting, changes lacking logic, coherence and even lawfulness followed.   

The first change of the way of election of the head of state was made in the 2000 year and represented the result of a harsh competition between President Petru Lucinschi, who wanted a presidential republic and the parliamentary majority, who wanted a considerable limiting of the powers of the head of state and strengthening of the parliament’s role. Thus, the MPs, without thinking too much about the eventual consequences, almost unanimously voted for the election of the republic’s president by the parliament, which was not necessarily bad for the country. Yet, the practice proved that it was almost impossible to create a majority of three fifths in the Moldovan parliament in order to vote the head of state. The process of corrupting lawmakers and political tourism in parliament started namely at that time.       

In 2016, the political interest changed and the role of promoter of the idea went to the Constitutional Court. This role could be interpreted with more professionalism; yet, what followed surprised more well-known specialists in terms of constitutionalism. Unexpectedly, and in a fully amateurish way of interpreting constitutional norms, the Court ordered the ‘’revival’’ of the law on the way of the election of the president. From the legal viewpoint, it was right for the parliament to adopt another law on the way of the president’s election and not at all for the Court to assume the ‘’revival’’, by introducing a new legal term and creating a precedent in the European practice, when a law enters into force for the second time after a pause of 16 years. With much unjustified boldness and celerity, the Constitutional Court replaced the parliament, re-wrote the Supreme Law and normative acts and laws. Everything was made primitively and contrary to the Constitution’s provisions. Even if the Constitutional Court’s ruling was in disagreement with the Venice Commission’s opinion, the weak political parties swallowed this mockery against the Constitution.        

So, we found ourselves that, in the autumn of 2016 year, we returned to the election of the head of state by ‘’all the people.’’ The first round of the ballot took place on 30 October.    

Just as in the previous cases, there were participants and puppets at these elections. I.e., with some candidates with zero chances to win and with a participation rather to take votes from one or another camp.   

The true competition was to be given in the runoff  between two candidates with diametrically opposed programmes and concepts, Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu. These two options were truly showing the real situation in the society and the opinion polls were dividing the vote options approximately in equal parts, with an insignificant advantage for Maia Sandu.       

Socialist Igor Dodon, one of the candidates of the left from the past, was displaying in the most direct, abusive and ostentatiously the orientation to Russia and in certain moment, he became even obedient and ridiculous. He was behaving as if Moldova was a Russian province and not an independent state. On the other hand, Maia Sandu, the leader of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), formulated a programme based on the idea of the country’s reconstruction and on the basis of a European model and fight with corruption, which was the crowning point in her electoral approach. Dodon was relying on the propagandistic anti-Europeanism and clichés borrowed from the arsenal of other countries and was also promising the return of the stolen one billion dollars and the punishment of the thieves. Next came the massive exports of Moldovan goods and products to Russia and the clearing up of the perpetrators of the money laundering named Laundromat.      

The electoral process, especially in the time interval between the first round and the runoff, recorded a dirty information war against Maia Sandu, illegal and outspoken involvement of the Metropolitan See of Moldova in agitation for Dodon and the defamation of his counter-candidate, as well as the paid electoral tourism with the organized participation of the citizens from the left bank of Dniester. Even if opinion polls were showing a victory just on the line of Maia Sandu, the result was one in favour of Igor Dodon. Socialist Igor Dodon picked up 52.11 per cent of the votes and the PAS leader, Maia Sandu – 47.89 per cent. Just as it was expected, Maia Sandu’ steam appealed the decision by the Central Electoral Commission at the Constitutional Court. More infringements were invoked, among which the limiting of the right to voting for the Diaspora, organization of the electoral tourism for the citizens from the left bank of Dniester and the abusive involvement of the Metropolitan See of Moldova in the electoral process.      

The Constitutional Court, in general, agreed with the existence of serious infringements of the Electoral Code; yet, predictably, it considered that ‘’the notices  set forth are not able to prompt another conclusion but the one to which the consideration of the statements formulated and the evidence presented by the authors of the application for the election’s cancellation led. The fraud invoked represents, in reality, just as it comes from this evidence, a string of sequential elements, which did not create a phenomenon able to change the voters’ will, in the sense of a change in giving the mandate. As for the eventual infringements of the law, the competent authorities have the task to investigate the deeds and impose the sanctions provided for by the law.’’      

In continuation, the Constitutional Court stated that ‘’the request for the cancellation of the elections for the office of Moldova’s president held in the runoff on 13 November 2016, was turned down.’’

In exercising its powers according to the Supreme Law, the Constitutional Court confirmed the result of the presidential polls, according to which Igor Dodon was elected as Moldova’s President on 13 November 2016.’’   

This was a predictable decision, thereby demanding the punishment of those who violated the law and the improvement of the legislation, in order to avoid such deviations. Nothing was done.   

Four years of mandate followed, during which Igor Dodon did not manage to do almost anything of the promised things. Dodon said that the he would be ‘’the president of everybody,’’ yet, subsequently, he described the unionists (who accounted for about 25 per cent, according to opinions polls) ‘’scoundrels and betrayers who must be banned.’’ In February 2017, Dodon laid flowers, along with the head of the Tiraspol breakaway group, at the monument of the Cossaks mercenaries from Bender, who in 1992 were shooting in Moldovan policemen mobilized to defend the territorial integrity of the young independent state. Later on, he awarded the Order of the Republic, the highest state distinction, to the leaders of the separatist actions of Gagauzia from 1990-92.      

The promise to punish the thieves who robbed the banking system was immediately forgotten. On the contrary, they enjoyed protection and comfort in continuation. The consideration of the files present in the one-billion-dollar theft was procrastinated for stupid reasons. More individuals with political and mafia-related past were released from prisons, the billion of dollars was not got out of the citizens’ shoulders, the money was not recovered, nobody was imprisoned for this and the charges against judges involved in the Russian Laundromat were cancelled and many of them were reestablished to office. Although Dodon assumed the merit of return of Moldovan products to the Russian market, official statistics shows that over 60 per cent of the Moldovan exports went to the EU market and Russia’s share was of only 10-15 per cent.   

The presidential elections from 2016 represented a lesson for politicians, as well as for our society. And the conclusion No1consist in the mere idea that one cannot get Moldova out of poverty as long as the oligarchy leads the justice, the state’s central institutions, economic regulation bodies, mass media and other sectors. What following in 2020 proved clearly that the society learned the lesson; yet, the corrupt oligarchic system is not so easy to be defeated.       


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