New Moldovan coalition looking to clean house

The Moldovan coalition government, formed by the pro-West ACUM bloc and the pro-Russia Party of Socialists, will primarily focus on purging the country’s government circles, leaving geopolitical issues for later. According to experts interviewed by Izvestia, the coalition will remain viable as long as domestic political reforms are underway. However, sooner or later the new authorities will have to agree on a foreign policy course, which may spell the end of this marriage of convenience.

Moldovan MP from the Party of Socialists Vladimir Tsurkan explained that the parties had decided during their coalition talks that they would focus on domestic issues and refrain from delving into each other’s foreign policy preferences. "Purging government circles is a priority task. We need a clean-up to address the aftermath of the Democrats’ totalitarian regime," the Moldovan lawmaker pointed out.

The Democratic Party’s attempt to usurp power was so obvious that Russia, the European Union and the United States all supported the new government headed by ACUM leader Maia Sandu. According to Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov, Moscow welcomed the eagerness of the pro-Russia and pro-EU parties to join forces to fight against the oligarchy.

It is hard to say how strong the coalition will be, particularly given the difficult talks in its formation, said Azhdar Kurtov, an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. "The problem is that the forces the coalition unites are too different, which means that the government will remain polarized," the expert noted.

It is yet unclear what kind of relations Chisinau will build with Moscow. Sandu openly calls for EU-integration, while Parliament Speaker Zinaida Greceanii, who is the Socialists’ leader, supports bolstering cooperation with Russia. To say nothing of President Igor Dodon, who has been trying to improve relations with Russia for the past three years, in defiance of the former government. Sandu, on the one hand, has stated that the government program stipulates further steps to implement the Moldova-EU Association Agreement but on the other hand, the prime minister has also confirmed the country’s openness "to dialogue with Russia to improve economic and trade cooperation."

Kalashnikov considers the coalition to be capable of purging government circles but it may fracture over foreign policy issues. However, election law reforms will allow Moldovan citizens to resolve such disputes through voting held in a democratic environment.

Moldova Sandu