“International policy is about surviving the century, domestic policy is about surviving until Friday”
Moldova is not at all what I had pictured in my head, and honestly, it has exceeded all of our expectations. We’ve been enjoying some sunny days filled with incredible meetings with an increasingly impressive roster of people. Admittedly, our first few days here were filled with fog, rain, and snow, but even in the face of these meteorological downers, our meetings with President Timofti, his advisors, and former Moldovan ambassadors were enlightening. For all of us, it was our first time meeting a head of state and President Timofti did not disappoint—he was gracious, well-spoken, and engaging. Likewise, his advisor, Vasile Sturza, was incredibly candid with us, answering our questions with a breadth of knowledge and depth of insight only to be expected from a key member of the Moldovan government.
As our trip progressed, we began to learn more about the current parliamentary situation. In a nutshell, Moldova has been experiencing a series of governmental crises. For example, President Timofti was elected after three years of parliamentary deadlock. Last week, the Prime Minister (who is chosen by the President and must be approved by Parliament) denounced the current 3-party governing coalition for inefficiency and corruption. Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, he could not muster the requisite votes to support his denunciation and he seems to be faced with two options: (1) to back down and renegotiate the coalition (probably for even less favorable terms) or (2) to allow early elections (under which he could be ousted).
Faced with these circumstances, the rest of the Moldovan government is feeling the pressure to accomplish as much as possible. Starting on Tuesday, we began meeting with a series of ministers (approximately the equivalent of US Cabinet secretaries) and deputy ministers representing the departments of education, justice, and foreign affairs. Perhaps what was most striking about each of the officials we met was that even though many of them were very young (the average age was in the early 40s), we could sense that they felt the pressures of what was at stake, recognized themselves as the future of Moldovan government, and were scrambling to get their agendas in place (should they and the rest of the current government be replaced). The quote at the beginning of this post is a brilliant capsule of the current Moldovan political situation.
At the end of the day, Moldova has some serious issues to contend with, but after meeting with all these government officials, I am confident that the government will be able to resolve them.