November 2014 elections in Moldova

A direct contact among the University students from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Moldova inspired students to thought-sharing. Short essay bellow shows what the students have to say on the topic of European Integration and Reform Experience of the Visegrad countries and how it relates to Moldova’s European path.

Title: November 2014 elections in Moldova
Author: Klaudia Báňaiová
University: Matej Bel University, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations

The Republic of Moldova is one of the smallest states in European continent. Despite this fact it is one of the most interesting countries in the region. Its historical and political development, religious and ethnic diversity, and special geopolitical position make this country so specific and unique for many political scientists. The contemporary political situation just underlines this fact. What will be the massage of the upcoming elections? Will Moldova still have a will to continue its euro-integration path? What is the role of external actors in this process? These are just some of the questions we would like to tackle upon.

Moldovan prime minister Iurii Leanca signed on 27th June in Brussels the association agreement with the European Union, including the most important economic part of the agreement – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This agreement offers wide range of opportunities for Moldovan people in trade, travelling, development and it is an important milestone within the economic and political cooperation between the EU and Moldova. The Moldovan Minister of foreign affairs, Natalie Gherman announced that next year Moldova will be ready to apply for a membership in the EU.

This projected vision towards integration with the EU, to high extent depends on the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for the end of November this year. The threat for the integration process could be the potential win of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova. Communists lost their political power in 2009 parliamentary elections when they received 45,1% of votes which was not sufficient to receive a majority of parliamentary seats. Therefore, the pro-European parties created a coalition – Liberal Party, Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (these have a dominant position), Party Alliance our Moldova (which merged into Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova in 2011) and Democratic Party of Moldova. All of these parties had announced their will to cooperate time before the elections. Nonetheless, this party coexistence peaked in 2013 into a crisis that had almost led to early elections. The permanent struggle between the two main political parties calmed down after the visit of Štefan Fule, the Commissioner for EU Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. This moment shows how constructive the involvement of the EU could be. In general, the stability of Moldovan government could be re-established via depolitization of institutions, credibility of jurisdiction, reform of the public sector, combat against the corruption which is probably the most urgent challenge of the country. In this regard, it is evident that the V4 countries have undergone (still undergo) similar challenges and thus they can provide their best practices in this process.

One of the most important form of support delivered by the EU to Moldova is the financial aid. In 2012, Moldova received the amount of 37 million euro, which should be invested to foster the economy of rural parts, reform of energy sector and to improve the management of the labour market. Of course, country has received also other financial aid with the aim to support reforms in the field of democracy and human rights. Nonetheless, probably the main aim of the EU should be to somehow warn the government coalition that further political crisis and elites´ rivalry using undemocratic means is not acceptable for the EU. In the case that EU would give more aid to Moldova, it is logical that it also can expect more. Otherwise, the relationship would be unhealthy, causing that the EU will pay more and receive less.

On the other hand, we cannot forget about the Russian pressure to Moldova. This pressure could be multiplied via restrictive economic measures, banning import of Moldovan products – wines, liquors, fruits, vegetables, etc. Russia rejects any kind of political character regarding this steps, however, it is evident that this could be understood as a political pressure. The EU has to bear in mind and count with the possibility that a number of Moldovans could lose their contracts in Russia. Also, it is not excluded that the prices of energy in Moldova could be dramatically changed. Last but not least, a very important “triumph” on Russian side is the territory of Transdniestria.

One of the most important challenges for Moldovans will be the upcoming parliamentary elections. We believe that Moldova should send a strong message to the EU that it is still willing to remain on a path towards closer cooperation with the EU and even the ambition of membership. The successful story of transformation depends highly on the attitude of domestic elites and their cooperation.