Friday, July 3, 2009

Miszei Misses Mark Mischievously

Kalman Miszei, EU special representative to Moldova, gave two statements yesterday which you can find at http://www.azi.md/en/story/4129.

In the first statement, he makes some generally good comments about the need for the July 29th elections to be seen as free and fair, and what needs to happen for that to be accomplished. What he fails to say, however, is that the upcoming vote has already been compromised by propaganda spewing forth from communist-allied TV channels, including the supposedly public Moldova-1, and that this damage cannot be totally undone in three weeks. July 29 cannot be a free and fair vote; the best we can hope for at this stage is 'freer and fairer than April 5th'.

The other problem here is that the communists have chosen to simply ignore the requests of the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Political detainees remain under arrest, no-one has been put on trial for police brutality, the opposition and NGOs have not been co-opted into the investigation commission, electoral law wasn't reformed to facilitate voting by Moldovans living overseas and Teleradio Moldova is still under the control of the PCRM.

Europe now needs to wave a big stick at Voronin and the PCRM if it really wants to see movment on these issues. I believe that an appropriate sanction would be to say that "Europe will not recognise any ruling-party victory on July 29th as legitimate unless all of the recomendations of the European Parliament are fully implemented to the EU's satisfaction by midnight on July 5th." That would concentrate minds.

In Miszei's second statement, he talks about the dangers of extremist rhetoric, and, in a sense, I agree with him. Calling your opponents 'fascist' and making all sorts of claims about them when you don't have a shred of evidence is very unhelpful. On the other hand, I think it's perfectly legitimate and necessary to label as 'totalitarian' a group of politicians that has, over an eight year period but more particularly in the last months, completely undermined democratic institutions.

As I mentioned yesterday, the July 29th election isn't a choice between various political flavours, it's a choice between democracy and totalitarianism. In this context, Miszei's instincts as a diplomat to mediate and compromise do not serve the country well.

One final point. Miszei make the following statement (translated from Romanian): "Those who scare the population on the one hand with fascism and on the other hand with Stalinist practices are doing a disfavour to democracy. We, together with those from Moldovan political life who have demonstrated a sober attitude and a centrist political culture, need to openly explain this to both parties."

The only 'sober', 'centrist' parties with any sort of presence on the national scene are Lupu's Democrats and Rosca's Christian Democrats. What Miszei's statement means, amazingly, is that the appointed representative of the European Union has bought the Voronin/Lupu position that Moldova's liberals are 'right-wing extremists', and even worse, has decided to start promoting particular political parties within the Moldovan scene. This is totally unacceptable and Mr Miszei's superiors in Brussels should consider carefully whether Kalman Miszei is fit for the job.

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