Wednesday, June 3, 2009

45 days of extremely hard work

Now that the euphoria of 'keeping hope alive' in Moldova is starting to wear off, we need to think about what is to be done. 'Shto delat?', as a badly transliterated Lenin would have said.

Today's vote was a major victory, but not a decisive one. To rid Moldova of the Communist / Russian threat, the 'reliable' opposition needs to win 51 seats in the anticipated elections, i.e. a simple majority in Parliament. With 51 seats, they can write legislation to free the media and they can democratise Moldova's electoral laws. With those two things done, the PCRM would be sure to lose further ground in any subsequent election and would be prepared to forestall this by voting for an opposition president.

To make this happen, the opposition and their supporters are going to need to work their butts off over the next 45 days. The EU and US also have vital roles to play, not in an opposition victory, but in ensuring an election that is much freer and fairer than the April 5 vote. Here's what needs to be done:

1. Build a unified, but still credible opposition. The three liberal parties should form themselves into a single 'Liberal Alliance', if only for the electoral period. Trusted outsiders (e.g. the Conservatives) should be brought into the list. The one or two percent of the vote they will add could be decisive. One the other hand, the credibility of the opposition shouldn't be undermined by bringing onto the list the likes of Braghis & Diacov, who have aligned with the PCRM in the past and have a fundamentally different vision for Moldova.

2. Get the message out about the April 5 fraud, the April 7 conspiracy and the April 8 terror. The TRM brainwashing needs to be counteracted and the best method of doing this is by word of mouth. Opposition supporters need to talk extensively with their families and friends in the villages where ProTV and the internet do not reach. Written materials need to be produced, printed & distributed widely. Even if all they can do is turn former communist voters into poll 'no-shows', and 'no-shows' into opposition supporters, that will probably be sufficient.

3. The main role of the EU and the US is to enforce on the PCRM the implementation of the European Parliament's resolution, in order (primarily) to (a) liberate TRM and (b) improve the electoral process markedly. I believe they have enough tools in their kitbag to make this happen, but a strong steer could be a signal that a communist victory would not be recognised unless the EP's principles are adhered to throughout the campaign period (i.e. basically from now onwards)

4. As requested by the Liberals in parliament today, the western powers also need to send in credible teams to oversee various aspects of democratic activity during the campaign period. In particular we will need real election observers, note the fakes we had to put up with last time around. These should be professionals from the countries with the strongest democratic traditions and little direct interest in Moldova, i.e. the likes of Finland, Denmark, Canada and New Zealand.

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