The day after Moldovans went to the polls in the February 24 general election, President Igor Dodon was already talking of dissolving the newly elected parliament.
The vote on February 24 delivered a divided parliament, with neither Dodon’s Socialists nor the rival Democratic Party (PDM) close to forming a majority, a result that looks set to lead to a lengthy period of political turmoil similar to that which followed the last general election in 2014.
Dodon said on February 25 that a “fair” majority should be formed by parties, and not by a single party joined by independent or fugitive MPs, adding that he is ready to dissolve the parliament resulted from the February 24 elections otherwise.
The outcome of the ballot, however, leaves little room for a majority formed by parties, as required by Dodon. According to data compiled by Radio Chisinau, the pro-Russian Socialist Party will hold 35 seats in the 101-seat legislative, followed by Vlad Plahotniuc’s PDM with 30 mandates, the pro-EU political platform ACUM (26 mandates), the party of convicted fraudster Ilan Shor (seven seats) and three independent MPs.
Political analyst Armand Gosu, speaking to unimedia.info, expects Plahotniuc to form a majority rather quickly.
“The outcome of these elections are like those Lego sets, that you can use to build an elephant, but a lorry as well. Plahotniuc will build his own parliamentary majority in a few weeks. Officially, his party has 32 seats, you will immediately see that he has 35 including the independent MPs. He will take seven deputies from Shor’s party and the rest from the Socialists. He needs 51 votes to have his government endorsed, so he needs another nine MPs. I do not know whether he has them now already, I've heard that there are only seven socialists [ready to defect]. We wait and see," said Gosu.
Plahotnuic bolted together a similar majority in the previous parliament, using a variety of tactics to persuade independents and members of rival parties to join his government.
However, the parliament is less fragmented this time around, and the more likely scenario would be for Moldova to head towards prolonged political turmoil, if neither Plahotnuic nor the Socialists manage to form a majority. ACUM has already ruled out working with either group.
Before a new government can be formed, however, the parliament should be validated, Dodon stressed, adding that objections have been filed with relevant bodies, and according to the law the final decision is expected by March 13-14. At least two-thirds of the MP seats must be validated in order to have the parliament validated as a whole, he added.
"According to legislation, until March 26, the president will convene parliament to recognise the new legislative body. In the event that elections are not declared legitimate, early elections will be declared no later than 90 days. I will be available to meet with every MP, but only after these elections are declared valid," added Dodon.
Also on February 24, the electorate validated the referendum leading to a smaller parliament of 61 MPs. It remains unclear what this means in terms of immediate developments, or whether Dodon will force the activation of the referendum’s provisions in the case of snap elections.