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DISINFORMATION: Maia Sandu is trying to usurp power in the Republic of Moldova

Dodon
©EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU  |   The acting President of Moldova Igor Dodon speaks during a briefing about the second tour of presidential elections in Chisinau, Moldova, 03 November 2020.

Maia Sandu is usurping state power, just like wanted millionaire Vlad Plahotniuc. This disinformation attempt belongs to PSRM leader, Igor Dodon, who seeks to block the dissolution of Parliament and the organization of early elections after the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled that all necessary conditions have been met.

NEWS: “Today’s ruling (April 15, e.n.) of the Constitutional Court can be compared to the ruling of 2019, when Vlad Plahotniuc used the Court to dissolve Parliament. This is how PSRM leader Igor Dodon has commented the most recent ruling of the Constitutional Court. At the same time, Dodon does not rule out the possibility that Parliament might not recognize the ruling and call for a vote of no-confidence for the three judges who have argued in favor of dissolving Parliament.

By means of today’s ruling, the majority of the Constitutional Court (3 out of 5 judges) have usurped the supreme court of Moldova in the interest of the president of the republic, which represents a serious breach of constitutional regulations, the Court’s own rulings over the years, the recommendations of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission”, Dodon said. At the same time, the Socialist leader said Maia Sandu is trying to usurp state power by means of the three magistrates, “much like the fugitive oligarch”.

“The answer to these attempts might be similar to what happened in 2019: a refusal to take note of the Court’s ruling, a vote of no-confidence for the three Court judges with a request that they step down, and a call on international partners to intervene and thus put an end to this attempted coup in order to restore the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova”, Dodon concluded, quoted by the official website of PSRM and most media outlets in the Republic of Moldova.

NARRATIVES: 1. The Constitutional Court ruling of April 15, whereby Parliament can be dissolved, resembles the controversial rulings of June, 2019, when the Constitutional Court, controlled by the former PDM leader, Vlad Plahotniuc, tried to prevent the formation of the PSRM-ACUM parliamentary alliance, and the election of Maia Sandu as Prime Minister. 2 Maia Sandu is usurping state power and controlling the Constitutional Court.

BACKGROUND: An April 15, the Constitutional Court of Moldova decided that all necessary conditions have been met to dissolve Parliament (and thus hold early parliamentary elections), since Parliament failed to invest a new government after the demise of the Chicu Cabinet on December 23, 2020.

Igor Dodon’s Party of Socialists in the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) tried to block snap elections and the dissolution of Parliament, claiming that there is a majority in Parliament that could invest a Prime Minister. The majority PSRM invokes is made up of PSRM itself, the Shor Party (led by wanted millionaire Ilan Shor, the man believed to have orchestrated the 2014 bank fraud, who was sentenced to prison in the court of first instance), and a few former members of the Democratic Party, led up until 2019 by another millionaire wanted by the police, Vlad Plahotniuc, considered the main beneficiary of the said bank fraud, which left a 1-billion-dollar dent in the Moldovan banking system.

After the resignation of the Chicu Cabinet, Maia Sandu held talks with parliamentary groups, and then designated Natalia Gavriliță, a member of her staff, as the new Prime Minister, a proposal that Parliament didn’t back. Shortly afterwards, the coalition led by PSRM nominated Mariana Durleșteanu. Maia Sandu tried to avoid and postpone her designation, but at one point, during a new round of consultations between the president and parliamentary factions, Mariana Durleșteanu withdrew her candidacy.

Maia Sandu then appointed her former deputy, Igor Grosu, and the PSRM-Shor Party coalition quickly responded by nominating the Republic of Moldova’s ambassador to Russia, Vladimir Golovatiuc.

The Constitutional Court decided the decree designating Igor Grosu as the new Prime Minister was constitutional, but the attempt at swearing in his Cabinet failed.

The Parliament majority, in addition to MPs from other political groups, believe the presidency didn’t quite follow constitutional procedures to the letter, and that Parliament cannot be dissolved as long as there is a Parliament majority willing to vote a new Cabinet.

Under the Moldovan Constitution, Parliament can be dissolved if a Cabinet cannot be sworn in within three months or 45 days since the first such attempt, and only after two consecutive nominations have been rejected. Both deadlines passed in late March.

Maia Sandu and the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), which she led prior to becoming president, have called for organizing early parliamentary elections as quickly as possible, claiming the current Parliament has lost all credibility. The Socialists, who previously also argued in favor of early elections, now want the election to be postponed for later this year, in autumn, an option that has rallied the support of most political groups in Parliament. PSRM is plummeting in opinion polls and wants to avoid an election, so as to preserve its leverage over key state institutions, including Parliament, alongside its allies.

PURPOSE: To undermine public confidence in the fairness of the Constitutional Court. 2. To block early elections. 3. To depict Maia Sandu as an authoritarian leader who’s breaking the law. 4. To preserve PSRM’s political influence.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Igor Dodon compares the current context and the ruling of the Constitutional Court with the situation in June, 2019, when the Republic of Moldova experienced one of its most severe political crises, which created two alternate centers of power.

At the time, after the parliamentary election, the Democratic Party in power, led by Vlad Plahotniuc, tried to prevent the formation of a coalition made up of PSRM and the ACUM bloc, which Maia Sandu was a member of. The Constitutional Court, controlled by Plahotniuc, issued a number of controversial rulings, which were rolled back once the crisis was over, and which were harshly criticized by the Venice Commission.

One of these rulings stated that the term “three months” actually corresponded to 90 days. Based on this ruling, the Court ruled against the constitutionality of the PSRM-ACUM coalition and all its decisions, including the swearing in of a Cabinet headed by Maia Sandu, since the 90-day deadline had passed.

At the time, the Court ruled that former Prime Minister Pavel Filip should act as interim president and declared Parliament dissolved on the same day.

The international community condemned the rulings at the time and PDM’s iron-fisted rule. Subsequently, the Venice Commission labeled the rulings of the Moldovan Constitutional Court unprecedented.

Judicial expert Nicolae Osmocehscu, a former Constitutional Court judge, claims there is no point of comparison between the Court’s decision of April 15 and the ruling of June, 2019, or between the political developments in the two contexts.

In its current structure, the Constitutional Court didn’t issue any rulings favoring Maia Sandu, a case in point being the ruling of February 23, when the Court ruled that Sandu’s decree designating Nataliea Gavriliță as the new Prime Minister went against the Constitution.

In 2019, shortly after his failed attempt at preventing the formation of a new Parliament majority, Vlad Plahotniuc and his shadow ally, Ilan Shor, fled the Republic of Moldova. Right now, Igor Dodon’s PSRM has an alliance in place with representatives of their parties.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The April 15 Constitutional Court ruling does favor Maia Sandu, who seeks to dissolve the current Parliament as quickly as possible and hold early elections, so as to give a proper representation to the large number of Moldovans who’ve voted for her.

WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: Igor Dodon, PSRM

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  • Publication / Media:
    PSRM web page
  • Date of publication:
    15/04/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    PSRM-linked mass-media, social media
  • Amplification:
    PSRM-linked mass-media, social media
  • Political affiliation:
    PSRM
  • Key narrative:
    Maia Sandu is usurping state power just like Vlad Plahotniuc back in 2019
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  • Maia Sandu is usurping state power, just like wanted millionaire Vlad Plahotniuc. This disinformation attempt belongs to PSRM leader, Igor Dodon, who seeks to block the dissolution of Parliament and the organization of early elections after the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled that all necessary conditions have been met.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. The Constitutional Court ruling of April 15, whereby Parliament can be dissolved, resembles the controversial rulings of June, 2019, when the Constitutional Court, controlled by the former PDM leader, Vlad Plahotniuc, tried to prevent the formation of the PSRM-ACUM parliamentary alliance, and the election of Maia Sandu as Prime Minister. 2 Maia Sandu is usurping state power and controlling the Constitutional Court.
  • PURPOSE: To undermine public confidence in the fairness of the Constitutional Court. 2. To block early elections. 3. To depict Maia Sandu as an authoritarian leader who’s breaking the law. 4. To preserve PSRM’s political influence.
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