VP: There are many differences, and not only context related ones. When I came into politics, in 2010, I hoped that I come to an area where the competition is based on the way in which political ideas and projects are promoted, I thought that after removing the Communists as a ruling party, the political scene will get developed. I was wrong, actually, I discovered a huge chaos, lack of parties’ organization, a lot of populism, few political ideas and a lot of vanity, frustration, fights for positions. I came to politics with wrong expectations, I understood this very quickly and I made a step aside, and not backwards. A step that would allow me assessing from a neutral zone how I would like to get involved further on.
R: Some people say that this step aside was actually a positioning in the politics shadow ...
VP: If we have a look to the way in which some people are squeezing on the political scene and the theatre that is played on this scene, yes, I can say that I was not really on this scene, but rather in the backroom, I have left certain sketches to get consumed, and the people who are watching this performance are coming up with appreciations. And they have given already some appreciations, and several political reconfigurations already existed.
R: Why did you stand for the position of Prime-minister? Was it an attempt to get out?
VP: For those who can pass over emotions and the wrong image that was spread in the public space, my gesture in the past probably is clearer today. It costed me nothing to cope with another hysterical media campaign, taking into account that the final result was the stabilization of the country and a government which started working. We should be less superficial and not limit ourselves to understanding step one, but we should also follow and understand the next steps. What happened at that time gave a final positive result.
R: Meaning that it was a tactical movement at that time?
VP: No, it was a political movement, in a context that you remember very well, being dominated by the hysteria falsely provoked by two groups led by offenders, who wished producing chaos in the country. There were a number of possibilities through which we could settle that crisis. We have chosen a more complicated one, but subsequently it proved to be good.
“Vlad Filat pays too high price”
R: Did you withdraw yourself in the backroom so as to start wars with political and opponents and competitors, and now when the scene is “swept” and it is possible to play will all the reflectors on?
I refer to the fact that Filat is convicted, Platon – imprisoned, Ţopa – found refuge in Germany, Usatîi – sheltered in Russia, Maia Sandu, Năstase, Leancă – in post-electoral “hibernation", Voronin – not counting so much, Ghimpu – on the paved road with 1.8%. Are there any opponents of the right caliber left? There are fears that we could end up with an authoritarian regime in the absence of adequate opponents for the “majority coordinator”?
VP: If we would take every case separately, and analyze it in detail, you will see that many of those whom you have mentioned have swept themselves out. Please remind me with whom of them did I start any war on my own initiative? If you analyze objectively what happened in the last years, you will see who of them started these wars and for what. And the time did not yet say its last word, the reality starts to show itself only partially, but many more are still to be proved. I am patient, and if you will be also patient, I suggest you coming back to this topic of interview when all the things will be clearer. Now I would limit myself to telling you that I do not believe in efficient settlement of problems through wars, they leave damages for all the people, and only the magnitude of the damage differs. That’s why I try avoiding them, I do not initiate them, I prefer looking for solutions for peaceful settlement, even if it lasts for more time and more concessions should be made.
R: Why do you avoid answering some accusations formulated by Vlad Filat?
VP: Because it would not be correct, humanly speaking. Vlad Filat is in the situation in which he is, he pays probably for some mistakes, for the way in which he has set his environment, he pays a lot, I think a too high price … I see the things subjectively, and this is true, from the perspective of the fact that he was a coalition colleague, when several important positive things occurred in the country.
R: And Platon?
VP: He never was really a politician and did nothing good for the country, don’t confuse things.
R: Maia Sandu and Andrei Năstase?
VP: As I have mentioned in my speech during the congress, they are a funny imitation of Vlad Ţepeş and Snow-white. They have never had a political project; both of them came into politics with one single obsession, based on an already failure model used several times by Ţopa offenders. They came with nothing new, they did not suggest anything specific for people. Their single project was to destroy the ones holding power and to install themselves in power, and to do this they were ready to initiate a big social crisis, they tries to block the foreign financing for Moldova, including the agreement with the IMF. And it did not matter that people could have been left without pensions and salaries, it was important for them to get the power. Two adventurers, whom you now see how they try hard to find topics to get in front of people, for the people not to forget them. The big problem of the opposition is the fact that it does not have the capacity to demonstrate that it has better ideas and solutions than the ruling parties.
R: To what extent those who accuse you that you have assembled the current governmental majority in the backroom are right that you have used triggers to be more convincing?
VP: It is paradoxical that some of those who say this are indirectly the authors of this majority coalition. The mistakes that they have committed and the way in which they have tried to trigger a political and social crisis have determined actually the establishment of this coalition joined by people who were against the chaos. And I will give you just one example: LDPM. If they indeed wanted to do something for the country, they should have remain in the governance and impose their viewpoint from within, to generate changes in this way, and they would have had the entire faction and could have done a lot. But they have preferred to make alliance with the Ţopa offenders in their project of taking over the power, they have promised them probably more positions and other benefits.
R: What was the most inspired decision that you made as a "coordinator from shadow "? What about the most uninspired one?
VP: I will not limit my answer to the decisions made by me, because in the coalition we make collective decisions. A very good decision of the coalition was the appointment of Pavel Filip as Prime-minister; he is a man who works hard and seriously. There were, as well, several very hard decisions on voting some laws for purging the banking sector. As well the decisions related to the package for the program with the IMF. I do not doubt that there were some uninspired ideas or actions, some of them were corrected already, other are being corrected. It is important to correct ourselves whenever we make mistakes. And since the moment we have taken over to govern, we have shown that we can do it. And the results were seen through the improvement of the international ranking of the country, from negative B3 to stable, as well as through the fact that in 2016 the lowest inflation rate was registered since 2009.
“Reform of the government is the merit of the Prime Minister. We will not have early elections
R: How are the relations in the current majority, are there or not political divergences in the coalition? How did the governance partners receive the idea of reforming the government and implicitly of reducing the number of ministries? What will you do if some of your governance partners will not accept these adjustments?
VP: The relations in the Coalition are political, we have a general common vision, based on which we act, but of course different opinions appear in relation to certain subjects, as we are different, and this is natural. It would be strange if it were otherwise. But it is important that we discuss openly, we listen to each other and we find compromise solutions for the divergent topics, so as to be able to work efficiently. As for the reform of the government, I will not talk about this technical area, as this is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. From political point of view, there is a will in the coalition to carry out this reform. It is now up to the Government to come up with the final vision for us to make the political decision.
R: What is the probability for current majority to get reformatted with new entities brought or taken out of the coalition?
VP: Why should we reformat something if things work well? We have stable majority and we have no reasons to think about this. The fact that some MPs may appear who would join the coalition is another discussion, the doors were and are open.
R: How should a reformatted political class, about which you have talked during the DP Congress look like? One of the objectives announced during the Congress was the “Optimization of the Parliament through which the citizens would be able to sanction those who do not work well". Does this mean that the mixed system for parliamentary elections and the uninominal vote will be implemented?
VP: The reform of the political class should start from getting out of the show and populism area, and coming back to people and their needs. But this will not happen as long as people will not have control over politicians. In this moment, this control is performed, at most, once per four years, and this is not sufficient and efficient. We will have to find formulas to give people more power over the political class. In relation to the uninominal vote – this thing cannot be decided by me. I have suggested some time ago this solution; the foreign partners I have consulted at that time have endorsed positively the idea itself, but there were some internal stakeholders who got very scared of that fact that the citizens could exercise a stricter control over them. Many politicians prefer to hide themselves with the party logo and electoral lists, as if they were shy of their names and their past. If the uninominal vote is not wished for, other methods may be found so as to help people to control the politicians. It is just important to accept that it is people’s right to have greater control over politicians’ activities.
R: One of the opposition politicians said that you intend to trigger early elections this year and to introduce the uninominal vote before. Is it true?
VP: You see how far from reality these politicians, you are talking about, are? They were fighting until now to trigger the early elections, they saw that they cannot, and now they accuse me of the fact that I want early elections. This speculation is absolutely ridiculous. The early elections will not be triggered either by the opposition or by the ruling power. The Republic of Moldova needs stability and peace, so as to be able to really start getting developed. Moreover, I would like to clarify that no change related to the electoral system may be made less than one year before the elections. So this speculation with the early elections preceded by changes of the electoral system is just a manipulation to generate confusion in the society. To be clearer – one more lie of the opposition.
R: Will Pavel Filip remain Prime Minister until the end of the mandate?
VP: Yes, he has the entire support of the party and he works well. He will serve his mandate until the end and I am sure that it will be a mandate with important results for the country.
“There were attempts to blackmail me”
R: During the Congress, you have also declared that all those who must be in prisons will end there. For the time being only low-level managers get in prison, but not the really big bosses. The big bosses, at most, get dismissed. Will the persons with more responsibilities and higher positions also be tackled? Will the higher level be targeted?
VP: There were also persons in high positions, especially this year. It is also important to fight against phenomena which affect directly the population, as it is happening in the Customs, health area, police, and other areas. Certain positive signs are seen, but there is still a lot of work. What we could do as politicians was to vote the laws which provided the law enforcement bodies the necessary tools to fight efficiently against corruption. Now we have to see how these tools will be used.
R: We are already at the beginning of 2017 and ... where the billion is? Where the guilty ones are? Who is paying? Accusations appeared in you relation as well, did you have any benefits from the BEM fraud? Even political ones, if there were any.
VP: The fact that there were accusations in my address, especially from behalf of some people who have benefited directly from the frauds in the banking sector, did not surprise me, it is their way of defending themselves. The big suffering of some of them is namely that fact that they never could prove their accusations and they know that I was not involved at all.
But not their false accusations are interesting, but the fact that there were also some attempt to blackmail me, from outside the country. I am talking publically about this for the first time. Some people though to take advantage of this situation, to come up with some false information to take me political hostage of the interests they have in relation to the Republic of Moldova. And this seems to me serious and I have reacted very categorically to this type of blackmail. It was a struggle which was not made public, maybe only some chips of the whole situation were seen publically. It is sure that I did not give in to these attempts and I will never give in, regardless of the types of attempts, from where they will come, and what false things they will use.
As for the recovery of the fraud money from BEM and punishment of the guilty ones, this is the duty of the law enforcement bodies and justice to act and to clarify this thing. The theft from BEM was performed over a number of years and under a number of governments, the investigation should be complex, and the people should find out who are the persons who developed the bases of the fraud schemes and who are the beneficiaries.
R: Landromat - laundering over twenty billion USD through our judicial system has created for us the image of not only a failure state, but a mafia one. Did you know about this case? What is true from Platon’s and his people’s accusations in your address?
VP: This case has determined major changes in the banking system. All those laws that were in the package for the IMF program were meant to enhance the banking system so as not to allow such situations anymore. These changes were carried out last year, including with my political involvement and they have annoyed a lot those who were backstopping these money laundry schemes. It is not by chance that accusation in my address got intensified namely when these transformations were happening. It would have been convenient for some people to further on use our country for money laundry, for the legislative enhancement of the banking sector not to exist. And now just think logically, if at least something from what the ones you are mentioning was true, would I have supported these modifications only for the sake of the IMF program?! Those who a launching these accusations are actually the people who were used in the implementation of these schemes, and who today are hiding themselves in different countries and victimize themselves so as to disguise their involvement, but the time will clarify everything and everyone will receive according to what he/she did. The millions that the NGOs from abroad or those from Moldova are paying them to cover the criminal activity will not help them. The law enforcement institutions should look further on for the truth and those who are guilty.
R: In the case of the Landromat, you have stated that: “Platon was not administrating his money, he was just the man with the money laundry schemes, and important persons were backstopping him". I assume that you did not refer to someone from the Republic of Moldova, do you know them? Will we find out?
VP: I referred to people from outside Moldova, we do not have such important people here, with such amounts of money.
R: Form Russia?
VP: This question should be answered by those who are hiding themselves now from liability, those who further on are acting servicing the respective persons so as to impede the state institutions to find out the truth.
“I am waiting for Jurnal TV to send me a request with the necessary technical data. I can offer them a good solution”
R: An accusation regarding the situation from Jurnal TV. Did you support the initiative to get them out of the media space for them to have no possibility to broadcast fully their programs and shows, and which led to lay-offs of personnel?
VP: In relation to their broadcasting time – I do not know their situation and I do not have anything to do with their situation, and I am saying this publically now that I am ready to look for a solution for premises in decent conditions, for those from Jurnal to overcome this problem, to be able to recruit the people back, if really this was the problem for those who have laid them off. I wait for them to send me a request with the necessary technical data of the premises they need and I am sure that I can offer them a good solution. Even though they criticize me all the day long, I think that it is good for them to broadcast as they did until now, as I identify actually more political advantages in their critics, as all the lies in my address only will show at the right moment the difference between these lies and the reality. So I am ready to help in solving this problem, especially if the final result would be for all those journalists who were laid off in an unjustified way, in my opinion, to be able to return to their work. I am afraid that we just have here a victimization campaign, which is hiding something much worse behind. We will see. My proposal is public and I am ready to get involved in finding a solution.
R: But the accusations of pressure refer to some institutions, such as ACC?
VP: The ACC is an institution which is always targeted by attacks these years, and it functions rather cumbersome, and this was fueled as well by the fact that no deep reform of the institution was made. I think that this institution will have to be reformed from top to bottom, to review its duties and to enhance a better mechanism for selecting the members of the Council based on competition, so as to have professionals working there, well-known personalities, and not people coming from politics. Thus the discussion regarding the ACC should be wider and should focus on an ample reform of the respective institution.
As for the accusations of Jurnal TV in ACC address, the answer derives from the fact that this television could broadcast without problems and can broadcast further on without any obstacles from the AAC.
“The Association Agreement with the EU will not be cancelled, we will not sign an Agreement with the Euro-Asiatic Union”
R: How do you appreciate Igor Dodon’s visit to Moscow? There were many strong declaration, will they be implemented in practice?
VP: A partial answer you already have in your question, yes, there were strong political statements. We had actually an implementation into practice of the electoral declarations of the President Igor Dodon. But these statements will remain political. There will be no cancelation or renegotiation of the Association Agreement with EU, and no signature of an Agreement with the Euro-Asiatic Union. All these are contrary to the strategic interest of the Republic of Moldova. On the other hand, we are interested in an open and constructive dialogue with the partners from the Russian Federation, so as to find the best ways for developing and making more dynamic the strategic partnership. But these ways will be found in the already functioning governmental format.
R: There were voices saying that this conflict of yours and DPM with Igor Dodon is actually orchestrated. You knew beforehand what the President will do in Moscow?
VP: You did not know? Of course, it was obvious that some strong statements would be made, and this was anticipated even by you – mass-media. But as you know, I said it also in the electoral campaign, about my positions in relation to such topics as the Association Agreement and continuation of the European development model of the country. And not we have just conveyed this position also officially, politically, on behalf of the DPM. Unfortunately it is not an orchestrated conflict, it is a real totally different vision for the country’s development, and this should not impede the institutions to function efficiently and based on a governance program, in which the current Executive body was voted.
R: How will you build you relations with the President Igor Dodon?
VP: And why should I build a relation with Igor Dodon? Institutions should discuss with him and this is in the limits of the Constitution. The Prime Minister and the President of the Parliament are the ones who will determine the way of cooperation with the presidential institution. What we have asked them, as representatives of the governance coalition, is not to admit any constitutional deviation. And I will intervene here personally as well, so as to politically block any slippages against the State or the citizens. The Republic of Moldova is led at the decisional level by a pro-European Government, and not by a pro-Russian President.
R: What do you and DPM think about the identity fight restarted by Igor Dodon: Romanians – Moldovans, Moldovan language – Romanian language, Romanians’ history versus Moldova’s history?
VP: Emotions. Emotions kept our country for many years. People want to live better, but some politicians try to feed them with negative emotions, to make them fight between themselves, for the people to have their minds busy with something else. This is one of the things that I want to change in politics and about which I have talked a lot during the DPM Congress.
“The declarations of the President cannot affect our relations with Romania”
R: What is your opinion about the proposal of PSRM and Igor Dodon to federalize the Republic of Moldova?
VP: I think that a solution for the Transnistrian problem cannot be found by Igor Dodon, it should be found through dialogue in 5+2 format and not outside it. In that dialogue the solutions should be analyzed together with their arguments, to assess to what extent they reflect the interest of the citizens from both sides of the River Nistru.
R: How will you build you relation, dialogue with the opposition from the right wing – PLDM, PAS, PDA? How do you see this relation?
VP: I opt for a constructive relation with the opposition, when the opposition is a really political one, which comes with solutions, and does not express only frustrations and emotions. Now we do not have a real opposition of right wing, a political and constructive one. But I really hope it will appear. It is also important for the government to discuss with the politicians from the opposition who would come with critics accompanied by real solutions, which can be implemented.
R: Romania is the most important supporter of the Republic of Moldova. Will Igor Dodon’s actions affect the relations with Romania? What is the red line which Igor Dodon should not cross when talking about Romania?
VP: As I saw, Bucharest took notes of the last declarations of the President. But we have a very solid partnership with Romania, both, as government, but also as party, as the DPM is the political partner of PSD – the party which won the elections. The declarations of the President categorically cannot affect our relations with Romania.
R: As President of the DPM and as a person with important relation in the political environment from Romania, how do you perceive the relations between Bucharest and Chisinau now, but most importantly, in future?
VP: I see them to be dynamic, especially now, when our political partner won the elections so categorically. But I see these dynamic relations pragmatically, through elements that would help Moldovans. Romania made in the last years very important gestures for our country and we further rely on this support, which helps us modernizing the country.
R: But how do you see the Moldovan-Russian relations? With whom do you communicate and collaborate more in the Russian Federation (parties and institutions from this country)?
VP: Beyond what is sometimes falsely promoted in the public space, our relation with the Russian Federation is of a positive trend. Of course there is space for improvement and we, as government and parliamentary majority, will do all our possible to make more dynamic this relation. It is less important with whom we communicate, it is really important that we do it efficiently. I said it before that the Republic of Moldova is not in the situation to make geopolitical choices, we have to make one single choice, to collaborate efficiently with everyone, so as to obtain concrete benefits for our citizens.
“I do not build the political project around a specific position”
R: As DPM leader already formally, and not only informally, in what position do you see yourself in future? President or Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova?
VP: I build my project around the final aim, and not around a specific position. The positions are relative and not always help you achieving the set objectives. The support you find is more important, as well as the team that you build for achieving the objective. So my answer is that I do not tend to any position.
R: For how long will you stay in the politics? Recently you were saying that you do not see yourself in politics for unlimited time.
VP: To convey a message for the enemies to hear, as well as those whom I impede to capture the country and to play their mean interests, I would say that I remain in politics for ever. Really speaking I will remain until I see that the Republic of Moldova is a solid country, is not vulnerable anymore, and is following a definite course of modernization.
R: The position of President of the DPM envisages for you better communication with the press, and with the society in general. Will you organize press conferences? Will you accept “confrontations” with the press?
VP: The positions of President of the DPM will oblige me to have better communication with people, especially direct communication and through actions for them. Of course I will communicate with the press, more actively than until now, but do not expect seeing me every day in press conferences or on TV. Politicians should go and listen to people, and not hold speeches in front of cameras.
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