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Power change in Moldova: the local government perspective

28 June 2019

Alexandru Osadci is the Coordinator of international relations and programs of the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM). All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author, not of PLATFORMA.

In Moldova, the most peaceful change of government just took place, which many – including the high-level representatives from the EU, the United States or the Council of Europe, were considering to be authoritarian. After a week of harsh political battles between the previous ruling coalition and the newly elected Parliament, the new government is now approved and all state institutions are fully functional.

One important characteristics of the change is that the new ruling coalition includes two blocks – one at the right and one at the left of the political spectrum, one so to say “pro-Russian” and one “pro-European”.

Another important characteristic is that, as many local and international media sources put it, it is probably the first time in the latest history when Russia, the EU and the United States have had absolutely similar positions and all three equally contributed to the solution of the political crisis.

As different as it is, this seems to be a rather natural coalition. Moldovan people are much less divided on geopolitics for a certain while already and mostly focus on the internal drastic situation – first of all manifested in the lowest standards of living in Europe, the massive exodus of the population from the country and the authoritarian trends in society. In overall, in people’s appreciation, both Russia and the EU made a lot of mistakes in Moldova, which they are now trying to alleviate by changing approaches.

At the same time, because of the serious situation in many fields, people from the right and those on the left realised very well that the key issues for the time being were those which could not be solved without comprehensive national unity and solidarity – probably for the first time in the recent history of the country. The new coalition seems to be rather strong, reinforced by this feeling both amongst the population and among politicians that the priority tasks for the new government are straightforward for everybody and are not divisible between right and left policies. The very last opinion poll (carried out after the peaceful transition), shows support for the current coalition by more than 71% of the population. Only 11% are against it.

Decentralisation

The new government is rather keen on decentralisation and there are now a lot of people in key positions – both in the government and in the Parliament – who were strong advocates of decentralisation in the past.

Last week, the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM) have had meetings with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Vice-President of the Parliament and several presidents of parliamentary commissions (Juridical and Finance), not even speaking about separate MPs, as well as was strongly involved in drafting and discussing the already suggested reforms in the field.

The New Government Action Plan is rather positive and explicit on decentralisation, probably more than any previous governmental program in the past. For mayors and local government representatives ,even more important is the end of the pressures and intimidations which they have experienced in the past which are reflected in the recent Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe recommendations, resolutions and reports on Moldova.

Alexandru Osadci
Coordinator of international relations and programs
Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM)

(Picture: © European Union / Thomas Leonard)

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