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IGOR DODON AND VLAD PLAHOTNIUC ARE PART OF SAME CARTEL - THE ECONOMIST

09 november, 2017
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The British news magazine "The Economist" has published an article on the political situation in Moldova.

The edition says that though Moldovan President Igor Dodon and Democratic Party leader, ruling coalition coordinator Vlad Plahotniuc say they stand for starkly differing visions of the future, many believe that in fact the two are operating a political cartel.

The publication reminds that in July, for instance, they co-operated to pass a new electoral law which could benefit their parties while serving to keep others out of parliament.

"The law came in the wake of last year's presidential election, in which Mr. Dodon won with 52.1% of the vote against 47.9% for Maia Sandu, a popular former minister of education. She now says that her activists are being harried by the authorities. Ms Sandu worries that Western countries are simply giving up on her country", the British magazine maintains.

According to article authors, she might well be right.

"Since so much money has gone astray while the allegedly pro-EU parties have been running the country, Vladimir Putin might have to do nothing but wait for Moldovans to conclude that Mr. Dodon and his party are the right people to restore order - and see Moldova return to the Russian fold", journalists say.

As for the recent events in Moldova, including the doubtful way of appointing Minister of Defense and the disclosures made by killer Vitalie Proca, The Economist writes that with all this going on, disillusion with the old pro-Western elite is high.

"In 2015 it emerged that US$1 billion, equivalent to one-eighth of the country's GDP, had been stolen from three banks. Unless the cash is recovered, Moldovan taxpayers will have to foot the bill. In 2014 it had been revealed that Moldovan banks had laundered US$20 billion of Russian cash. In 2016 Vlad Filat, a former prime minister and Mr. Plahotniuc's great rival, was jailed for abuse of power", the magazine says.

The Economist wrote that in 2014 Mr. Plahotniuc's party won only 15.8% of the votes in the general election. However, directly or indirectly he is reckoned to control more than half the deputies in parliament, and hence the government.

"He is also said to exercise great influence over the judiciary, though he claims that this is an "invention" by his enemies. One diplomat says: "Let's be clear, this is a captured state-captured by one guy. An oligarchic dictatorship. There is no interest in judicial reform in this country, because if there was, this regime would come tumbling down like a house of cards." On October 11 the European Commission said it was suspending 28 million euros of aid earmarked for judicial reform in Moldova, because the country was not reforming its justice system", the popular British edition says.

According to journalists, Mr. Plahotniuc may be powerful but he is certainly not loved.

"According to a poll earlier this year he is trusted by only 2% of the population, though he protests that "there is still a need for me." If elections were held now, only 4% would vote for his party. By contrast, President Dodon is trusted by 41%, and 36% would vote for his lot, the poll said", the Economist concluded.

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