Moldova’s opposition Liberal Party (PLM) has drafted and submitted to parliament a bill on terminating the country’s membership in the Community of Independent States (CIS).
While the position of the ruling coalition is currently unclear, it is possible that the parliament would endorse the Liberals’ bill — which would create a major conflict with pro-Russian President Igor Dodon, who would be expected to promulgate the bill.
The ruling coalition supporting the bill would provide more credibility to the pro-EU rhetoric expressed by the coalition’s leader Vlad Plahotniuc, who is constantly striving to improve his credibility abroad and gain support at home against the other pro-EU parties that seek representation in the parliament. Yet it would be a radical step on the part of the ruling coalition — Moldova’s parliament endorsed country’s CIS membership back in 1994, three years after the USSR dissolved.
Thus, it is not clear whether the ruling coalition would decide to endorse the Liberals’ bill — in which case it would become no more than a pre-electoral move by the opposition party.
The PLM was part of the ruling coalition between early 2016 and mid-2017, when it pulled out from the coalition accusing Plahotnuic’s senior ruling Democratic Party (PDM) of manipulating the judicial system against Chisinau mayor Dorin Chirtoaca (of the PLM).
The Liberal Party has constantly expressed views in favour of Moldova’s unification with Romania — an idea not particularly popular among voters but which has gained the party stable though moderate political support. Its position as the leading pro-Romanian party in Moldova came at risk recently and the bill might be an attempt to re-gain the ground lost ahead of the parliamentary elections at the end of 2018. At the same time, the move is a test for the ruling majority’s pro-EU commitment.
More recently, former Romanian president Traian Basescu and former Moldovan defence minister Anatol Salaru (a former member of the PLM) set up a political party with the same political rhetoric as the PLM: namely unification with Romania. The credibility of Basescu (seen as the author of the anti-corruption movement in Romania) and Salaru is superior to that of the PLM’s Mihai Ghimpu, who was criticised by his own party for supporting Plahotniuc while a member of the ruling coalition.
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