Moldova is rapidly heading towards the precipice:
Moldova’s president on Wednesday rejected a proposal to nominate an influential politician and businessman to become the next prime minister, saying there were doubts about his integrity.
But President Nicolae Timofti said there were reasonable suspicions about Plahotniuc’s integrity and said he would not nominate him for the job. He told the pro-European coalition to pick another candidate by midday Thursday.
In a sign of political tensions, the Democratic Party said in a statement late Wednesday that the pro-European coalition was standing by its previous proposal of Plahotniuc and urged the president to “act … in the national interest.”
Right now, a shaky pro-EU coalition has a slim majority in parliament, but if they fail to select a Prime Minister by January 29, elections will be called. Since a majority of people in Moldova are sick of the corruption and theft by prominent pro-EU politicians, it’s likely that elections will strengthen the pro-Russia bloc.
This is causing widespread panic (link in Romanian), as pro-EU media sources are warning of a Russian-backed “coup d’etat”. A more sanguine observer might note that voting for a pro-Russia party in an election is actually an expression of democracy in action, not a coup.
It’s not helping anything that the last pro-EU party left standing in Moldova, the Democratic Party, kept journalists from leaving when the party was deciding to back Plahotniuc for PM, even if it means that a failing bid will ultimately trigger snap elections, leading to a loss of their in power in the parliament.
The last remaining members of the pro-EU bloc are under the thumb of Plahotniuc, and since practically everyone in the country loathes and detests him, this last stand is rapidly turning into a kamikaze mission. Even citizens who want Moldova to join the EU can’t stand him, or his fellow oligarchs, and so the whole pro-EU/pro-Russia issue is getting overshadowed by the fact that supporting the EU is now equivalent to backing a band of corrupt oligarchs.
Not mentioned in any of the press reports that I could find was that yesterday a huge protest took place in Chisinau, with the “call elections now” group clashing with the “we support Plahotniuc” group, and several hundred cops between them to keep it from being an all out riot.