The referendum as been and gone. In terms of the result, it actually delivered a resounding "yes' to the idea of direct presidential election. In terms of its effect, the low turnout was a big slap in the face, in particular to the two politicians who saw themsleves as the next President of Moldova, Vlad Filat and Marian Lupu. They will now have to wait and see if their ambitions can be fullfilled.
Voronin and the communists are of course crowing with delight. They have congratulated the Moldovan people on their 'glorious defeat of the ruling regime' and for 'restoring democracy'. For the life of me I don't see how staying at home and changing channels is glorious, nor how non-participation in a referendum is democratic, but then I wasn't brought up in the Soviet Union and indoctrinated in its peculiar brand of, er, 'democracy'.
There is plenty of blame to be shared around. The communists get a good dollop for actively undermining the democratic process. The AIE also has a healthy share due to it lazy and personality-focussed campaigning. And then there's the citizenry, who decided that the fate of their country was less important than the other things on their agenda.
The AIE is rounding on the corruption allegations raised by Sergiu Mocanu and their effect in deingrating the AIE and causing disillusionment among its supporters. The criticism has been extended to the media organisations which have given Mocanu a platform (particularly Jurnal Trust Media). Yesterday Vlad Filat indicated that he was considering legislation to curb the liberty of the media, while today the Minister of Information Technology, Alexandru Oleinic, has taken a number of media institutions to court for defamation.
The reactions of Filat and Oleinic are dangerous. I can understand that the allegations made by Mocanu may have caused significant damage to their reputations (not to mention that of Marian Lupu), however their beef is with Mocanu, not with the organisations who have reported him. Oleinic should withdraw his suit and Filat should apologise to the people of Moldova for seeking to restrict freedom of the press. Both men should realise that a vigourous investigative press (no matter its 'unfairness') is vital to Moldova's transition to democracy.
The fact is that Mocanu has made very serious allegations which have yet to be addressed by the AIE leadership, which leads me to believe that perhaps he is right. There is so much smoke that there must be a reasonable-size fire under there somewhere. Whether Mocanu is being sponsored by someone is now almost irrelevant; the facts need to be recognised and dealt with.
In order to regain credibility with the voters ahead of November's election, the AIE needs to order an independent & transparent inquiry into the allegations (probably under the leadership of a respected international figure). It should suspend any links with Plahotniuc until the inquiry is finalised. Prosecutor General Zubco should also step aside given that his name is connected to a number of the allegations. Once finalised, the inquiry should then hand over the results of the investigation to the (acting) prosecutor general for any necessary criminal proceedings.
The AIE needs to move fast on this, as otherwise the issue may become a terminal cancer which kills them in November, and saddles Moldova with another decade of government by you-know-who.