INTERVIEW // Vlad Plahotniuc: There was Internal and External Pressure to Force Government and PDM to Intervene and Make Judges Validate the Elections

This decision becomes an extremely dangerous precedent for all parties, including PDM. We cannot exclude that in parliamentary elections we ourselves might end up in similar situations, after some individuals appeal against the results in some constituencies and find various provisions in the law, which would allow invalidating the mandates. That is why we have asked our lawyers to begin analysis of laws the courts referred to in their rulings, as well as of the electoral legislation as a whole, so as to allow us understand where the other eventual backdoors are, which would allow to use the law and invalidate elections, regardless of the party or the candidate concerned, and find out how to close these backdoors.

26 June 2018 INTERVIEWS/ SPEECHES

INTERVIEW // Vlad Plahotniuc: Presently there is no single pole of power in the Republic of Moldova

11 June 2018
In an interview to TRIBUNA portal, Vlad Plahotniuc, Chair of the Democratic Party of Moldova, spoke about his assessment of the results of recently ended elections, who PDM supported in these elections, why PDM did not say loud and clear that they support Andrei Nastase in the second round or at least ask to vote against socialists etc.

Chisinau has a new mayor, how do you assess the results of the recently ended elections?

One must mention several things after these elections. I will begin with the fact that despite speculations and manipulative campaigns, the elections have been carried out democratically and correctly, and a proof to this is the fact that a representative of opposition became the mayor. You may remember how much manipulation was there in this election campaign, saying that the elections will be frauded. In both rounds, this was the main topic. It turned out that it was not so and everything was just a lie and victimization. Unfortunately, those who promoted these false messages did not have the decency to appreciate publicly the way the elections were carried out, even though they were happy with the results.

A second thing to remark is the fact that the period of political instability in the Town Hall is ending, as stability was needed not just at national level, but also at the level of Chisinau municipality and it is time for them to start working systematically for people, to solve the problems of the city.

As for the elections result, considering low voters' turn over,  we can't talk about victories, but we do have an important defeat of socialists, who have recently become way too active. I believe, this result will temperate their dream to win parliamentary elections all by themselves, as they have been boasting. Just as important is the signal of the voters in Chisinau, saying that the capital continues to pursue the pro-European path. What sort of a country with pro-European aspirations would have we been with the mayor and the president of the country being socialists? PDM has underscored this during the election campaign as well: it is vital that the socialists do not win the elections in Chisinau.

Whom did PDM support in these elections?

PDM did not have a candidate in these elections and was not involved in the election campaign. We believe that not to appoint a candidate was the right thing to do, as the opposition accused us that we want to take the Town Hall of Chisinau and control everything. We have proven that it is not so and we have proven false the statement about the captured state. What sort of a captured state are we talking about: left-wing opposition wins presidential elections, right-wing oppositions wins the elections of mayor of Chisinau? The result of elections in the capital brings more balance to the state. Now right-wing opposition has a chance to turn from words to deeds, to prove itself. Nowadays, there is no single pole of power in the Republic of Moldova, because we see parts of it held by the main political forces in the country - left-wing, centre, right-wing. We could say that on some important dimensions of the government the state is "captured" by opposition, if we were to use the rhetoric of certain individuals.

Why didn't PDM step out and support Nastase in the second round or at least ask to vote against socialists? 

We did it quite explicitly in the first round and our voters have understood the message very well, as well as its validity for the second round. Let me remind you what we said then - vote against socialists and liberals, who have been in control of the Town Hall for so many years and failed. Our call in the first round remained valid in the second round.

Should we have stepped out in the second round and stated the name of the candidate, the old story of the poisoned apple or similar would have started. We believe that we did the right thing having simply maintained the message from the first round, when we have clearly said to cast votes against socialists.

Some say that your initial scenario was to have the opposition win in order to isolate Nastase, make people see that he cannot run the Town Hall, the Government providing him no help. How much truth is there in this scenario?

PDM had no objectives in this election campaign, so no scenarios. However, we certainly do not dislike the fact that a representative of the right-wing opposition will be the mayor of Chisinau. I believe it is an important step in consolidation of democracy and multi-partyism in Moldova, as well as a decisive moment: the citizens will finally see what our political competitors are and are not capable of. It is easy to stand on the stage and criticize, but when you come down into the field and work for the result things change radically.

As for the Government, it should help Chisinau no matter who the mayor is, as long as the institution works in the interest of people. The government will do it. It will support Chisinau whenever and wherever possible. It will not matter that the mayor is a representative of an opposition party, as the Government and the Town Hall belong to citizens and must cooperate, regardless of the political colour of their leaders.  The Municipal Council of Chisinau should also stop internal fights and start working for the citizens.

Are you sorry that Silvia Radu has not won? Is it true that she is supposed to get a position in the Government?

I have not been following her activity very closely. Some say she did well. However, in order to be the mayor of Chisinau one needs political support, otherwise it is very complicated in an extremely politicized country, where the votes are mostly cast politically and geopolitically. She had an unexpectedly high score for an independent candidate. It is a signal that there are quite a lot of people in Chisinau who no longer want politics in the Town Hall. However, I do not think that she had a chance to win these elections as an independent candidate, particularly with such a low voters' turn over.

I think she made a mistake not having had a discussion with right-wing parties before the campaign. She preferred to keep away from all parties, and I believe that the score was the maximum she could get under these conditions.

As for the speculations that you have mentioned, there were no talks as to bringing her into the Government, not even political discussions.

Do you think that Andrei Nastase will do well as Mayor? 

I do not know his capacities, so I cannot assess them. I also do not think that it is correct to assess an individual before you see the performance of that individual. We should not assess a politician by how loudly that politician cried or how much that person talks. We should rather look at how skilfully that individual runs an institution and solves peoples' problems, how good of an institutional manager that individual is.

He is one of your greatest critics. Don't you have some negative feelings about him winning these elections? 

Not long ago he and Dodon were together on the stage and were criticizing me in a single voice. They were organizing protests together, and even though these actions were nothing more than a show, they required close cooperation between the two. Their relationship was very visible in the first round as well; they took care of each other. Presently, both run institutions and both used to say that Plahotniuc captured the state. In a captured state, they would never have had a chance to win in free elections.

Thus, if I were to have negative feelings, they would not be against them having won the elections, but rather against the two-facedness that they have promoted. However, it is important that people gave them a chance to show what they can do. We shall see if people punished them with leading positions or gave them a real chance to prove themselves.

Now you see how Dodon is doing as the President and make your assessment, and soon you will see Nastase in action, then we will draw conclusions about what they can do better: talk or do things for people. I believe that in a democracy, even in a transitional one like ours is, it is a very positive moment when the opposition, one way or another, gets functions.  Now, I would prefer that the current government, left-wing and right-wing opposition compete in doing as many good things for people as possible, not to be on the streets or on Facebook and tell tales.

We have not had moments of such political balance in Moldova and it is ironic that the time when the opposition gets two important functions in the state is exactly the time when some call our state captured. I said it once; time will settle everything and will explain things much better than we could.

Do you think that the results in Chisinau will have an impact upon parliamentary elections?

I hope they will. The voters confirmed again that Moldova remains a pro-European country and I hope it will stay so in autumn.

How are you going to set up pro-European government with PAS and PPDA, who say that they will not conclude an alliance with PDM?

If I were in their shoes in the opposition, I would say exactly the same thing before the election. It would be political suicide for an opposition party to say that it is going to conclude an alliance with the governing party.  What sort of opposition would PAS and PPDA be, should they even admit an eventual alliance with PDM before the elections? They would automatically lose a part of their voters. Thus, they are doing the right thing when they say that there will be no alliance with PDM. What will happen after the elections? Let us not anticipate. Let us first see the results and then talk. At this point, we have opposition parties and governing parties. They should not be mixed up because we risk confusing the voters, which would be a disadvantage to the right-wing parties.

Now I do want to remark a very welcome position of some representatives of Western diplomacy, accredited in the Republic of Moldova, who are sending a message that sketches a common perspective for democratic and pro-European parties immediately after the parliamentary elections in autumn.

After the elections in Chisinau, some representatives of opposition said that the results show that PSRM has an advantage in case of mixed voting system. Would socialists be the main beneficiaries of the mixed voting system?

General elections are carried out in the whole country, not just in Chisinau. There were 10-12 localities where we recently had early elections, and socialists lost in all of them! This proves that, on the contrary, elections in constituencies are a disadvantage to socialists. The same will happen in Chisinau. The socialists will not get anywhere close to the score they had in these elections. Again, just like in the case of other speculations, some people talk about things that are more about imagination and lack of understanding, rather than about reality. The reality will make them get their head out of the clouds.

I understand that some do not like the mixed system because they do not have territorial branches, they do not have their people in the field, and they only have a team in Chisinau. General election are for the whole of the country. They must bring to the Parliament people from the whole territory, not just from Chisinau. What sort of representativity does a party that only has a team in Chisinau has? Strictly local. There should be representatives of all districts, all categories of populations, regions etc. in the Parliament. This is exactly what the mixed system does: it helps representatives of all districts come to the Parliament, not just those from Chisinau who are on the party lists. People can send to Parliament local representatives, those who they know and trust. Chisinau cannot monopolize Moldovan politics.

You have recently returned from a visit to the US, and before you went to London. What is the reason for these visits? I am asking because previously you have not had such visits. Are you looking for support there? What exactly makes you go on these visits?

I made a mistake in the past: there was no consistent foreign agenda and I allowed others speak about PDM and even myself. Since I became the Chairman of PDM, I changed this approach and we have a well-structured foreign agenda, we started to communicate more actively with our foreign partners and saw how important that is. They want to know the opinion of each important party. They want to have information about what is happening in our country that is as balanced as possible. Very often, after discussions and arguments presented, some opinions built strictly on the speculations or erroneous information supplied by some politicians from Moldova have changed. Thus, I decided to go whenever there will be opportunities to meet our foreign partners. I also do it weekly in Chisinau, meeting representative of diplomatic corps. It is an important change made by PDM, showing more openness to communication, externally and internally, in relation to citizens.
 
The original article is here
 

In Moldova, however the EU still remains a source of inspiration, expertise, and support for our pro-European government. In 2016, in a very polarised atmosphere and with an economy in massive need of investments and trust, the EU stepped in to define a new and well-designed roadmap of reforms in partnership with the new government, helping bring a sense of normalcy back to Moldova after several tumultuous years and allowing the young administration to focus on implementing new reforms and finding the right pace toward integration.
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More than 25 years after Moldova gained independence, Russian troops are still stationed within our borders, in the breakaway region of Transnistria. Moscow refuses to recognize our sovereignty and, as in Eastern Ukraine and Georgia, provides economic and military support to separatist groups whose chief goal is to prevent former Soviet republics from aligning with the West. Such “frozen conflicts” reflect a Cold War mentality that sees the world as divided into spheres of influence and affords smaller countries no authority. These issues cannot be swept under the carpet anymore. The time has come for the international community to counter Moscow’s defiance firmly.
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