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Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION: The Republic of Moldova will descend into financial collapse

Disinformation

The media in the Republic of Moldova and Russia have published an apocalyptic economic growth forecast made public by Mariana Durleșteanu, a former economy Minister nominated for the office of Prime Minister by the Party of Socialists in the Republic of Moldova (PSRM). Durleșteanu presents no data to support her claims, which have been disputed so far by economic analysts and the estimates of both the Government and international organizations.

NEWS: “This is a warning: the state budget is sustainable only until June, and the budget deficit won’t be 14 billion Lei (e.n. some 650 million Euro), but double. Therefore, this could drive the country into financial collapse”.

“Moldovan economy will shrink by more than just 14%”, Mariana Durleșteanu also said. Her statements have been extensively cited by a large part of Moldovan media and some media outlets in Russia. “Financial collapse” was one of the most powerful headline-grabbing quotes.

Reality

NARRATIVES: The Republic of Moldova needs a Government with full powers in order to prevent the crisis from deepening. The absence of such a Government might push the country into financial collapse.

BACKGROUND: The Republic of Moldova is in a deadlock. It has a divided Parliament (dominated by a political alliance revolving around PSRM) and an outgoing Government. The recently elected president, Maia Sandu, and part of the MPs want early parliamentary elections. The easiest way out of this deadlock is for Parliament to invest a new Government. Maia Sandu appointed Natalia Gavriliță, a member of her staff, as the new Prime Minister. Sandu said, however, she merely did so in order to observe constitutional provisions, and urged Parliament not to vote for her. On February 11, Parliament voted against the Gavriliță Cabinet, and on the same day, another nomination appeared on the table: Mariana Durleșteanu, a former Finance Minister over 2008-2009. The Party of Socialists, the Șor Party, led by Ilan Șor, a fugitive politician, sentenced in the court of first instance for his involvement in the 2014 bank fraud, as well as several former Democratic MPs backed Durleșteanu, totaling 54 out of 101 votes. The Socialists nominated their own candidate, despite previously saying they wouldn’t do such a thing, in order to trigger early parliamentary elections.

A 2015 Constitutional Court ruling, upheld in 2020, compels the head of state to designate a Prime Minister nominated by a Parliament majority. Still, Maia Sandu disregarded the nomination made by the 54 MPs and again, proposed Natalia Gavriliță for this office. Her decree has been challenged at the Constitutional Court, which is due to issue a ruling in this matter on February 23. Sandu motivated her decision to discount the candidacy supported by the 54 MPs, invoking the doubtful integrity of some of the MPs backing Durleșteanu, who were allegedly involved in the bank fraud scandal.

Mariana Durleșteanu’s Facebook post is the last in a series of public statements by Moldovan MPs, arguing a Government needs to be sworn into office before organizing snap elections to prevent the economic and pandemic crisis from escalating. She subsequently deleted her post.

PURPOSE: To build up the idea that the lack of a Government endorsed by Parliament will have serious consequences on Moldovan economy. (indirectly) To blame Maia Sandu for the worsening state of the economy, if a Government isn’t  elected.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The day Mariana Durleșteanu published her commentary on Facebook, Expert-Grup, the biggest think-tank in the field of economy in the Republic of Moldova, published a study on economic evolution in 2021, where it estimates a 5.4% economic growth. Economic analysts also expect the budget deficit to deepen to nearly 7% of the GDP, which would be tantamount to 14 billion Lei.

On the same day, interim Finance Minister, Tatiana Ivanicichina, confirmed the Government’s forecast, according to which the economy of the Republic of Moldova will go up by 4.7% of the GDP this year.

According to the forecasts made public by the World Bank at the end of December, Moldovan economy will report a 3.8% increase in 2021 “should a more favorable context follow the development of vaccines”, while its budget deficit will reach 4.5% of the GDP (some 9 billion Lei).

In a commentary on Newsmaker, other economic experts have also labeled Durleșteanu’s forecast as “overstated”. Former Prime Minister, Ion Chicu, said the post was written by “Durleșteanu the politician, not Durleșteanu the financier”.

Moreover, Mariana Durleșteanu provided no clear figures to support her estimates.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Moldova’s economy is vulnerable.

WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: PSRM, who wants to force Maia Sandu to accept their nomination and thus avoid early elections.

  • Publication / Media:
    Mariana Durleșteanu, Facebook
  • Date of publication:
    16/02/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    The population with low income, reliant on state subsidies, the economic sector
  • Amplification:
    A large number of media institutions in the Republic of Moldova, but also in Russia
  • Political affiliation:
    PSRM, Șor Party
  • Key narrative:
    The Republic of Moldova will be driven into financial collapse unless a Government is sworn in
Cornel Ciobanu

22 Feb 2021
Cornel Ciobanu

10 minutes read
  • NARRATIVES: The Republic of Moldova needs a Government with full powers in order to prevent the crisis from deepening. The absence of such a Government might push the country into financial collapse.
  • PURPOSE: To build up the idea that the lack of a Government endorsed by Parliament will have serious consequences on Moldovan economy. (indirectly) To blame Maia Sandu for the worsening state of the economy, if a Government isn’t elected.
  • WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: PSRM, who wants to force Maia Sandu to accept their nomination and thus avoid early elections.
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