Ouster of Moldovan Speaker by Combination of ‘Pro-European’ and Communist Deputies Dooms Chișinău’s EU Association Bid

April 29, 2013
James George Jatras
Deputy Director, AIU

If anyone supposed that Moldova’s messy political rivalries and bizarre coalition shifts could not become any more problematic, they are wrong.

On April 25, deputies of the Liberal Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat joined with Communist deputies to oust Parliament Speaker Marian Lupu of the Democratic Party. With Lupu’s removal, the Moldovan parliament becomes dysfunctional and new elections will have to take place in the fall. The likelihood those elections will produce anything more stable is highly speculative.

Observers believe that Filat and his party may have been motivated by a ruling by Moldova’s Constitutional Court earlier in the week barring him, on the basis of unspecified corruption claims, from standing again as prime minister. (It should be remembered that the collapse of Filat’s shaky coalition government on March 5 took place with Lupu’s Democrats voting with the Communists to bring down the government, with the Liberal Party of Mihai Ghimpu – the third element of the now-defunct “Alliance for European Integration” (AIE) – abstaining.)

With the AIE now completely dissolved into a morass of recrimination and petty revenge – and with Filat’s alliance with the Communists betraying, for the second time, Moldova’s European aspirations – prospects for the signing of an Association Agreement (AA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU in Vilnius this November are all but dead. It is an amazing and dramatic plunge for the country that not too long ago had been touted as a post-Soviet “success story” eligible for a fast track for EU integration. (During 2012 Chișinău was favored by visits from European Commission President José Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. With EU assistance having quintupled between 2006 and 2012, Moldova topped Brussels’ per capita largesse at 41 € per person.)

The ouster of Lupu, last month’s fall of the Filat government, and the still unresolved question of the December “Huntgate” scandal over the fatal shooting of businessman Sorin Paciu have fed a downward spiral reminiscent of the period of protracted political stalemate Moldova experienced between 2009 and 2012, when a divided parliament was unable even to agree on electing a president. No obvious end is in sight.