November 30th parliamentary elections are knocking at the door and so are representatives of political parties. Yet, many voters are still confused, frustrated and, therefore, hesitant to open their front doors. People are used to only seeing politicians in person during campaign season and many even think it is for the better, because listening to their inflated accomplishments, empty promises and blatantly condescending lies is painful. However, it is all part of the game generously called democracy. Then, what is it so special about these particular elections?
Well, there are two competing narratives about the importance of the outcomes of this election. Some argue fiercely that this vote is crucial in deciding Moldova’s fate, while others are convinced that it hardly matters at all. I, for one, tend to agree with the latter, but for different reasons. First, let us explore the zeal behind the ‘doomsday’ campaign. It is mostly the incumbent center right parties that are desperately trying to persuade the public that this election could bring “the end of Moldova as we know it,” implying that if voters fail to re-elect the ruling coalition, they can forget about the dream of Moldova’s European integration. Regardless if is true or not, it is simply outrageously self-serving. Having little or nothing to show for when backed into a corner by unpromising poll numbers, they are content with making people feel even more miserable when faced with the risk of losing their European dream, no matter how surreal. Having failed at governing, they fail yet again at campaigning.
My take is that this election is no different than any other in terms of what is at stake. Elections are important not because ruling or opposition politicians tell us so, but because, unfortunately, this is the only meaningful tool we have to make our voices heard, particularly in Moldova. Everyone should vote, no matter how unenthused they are with the candidates. Those who are still undecided or, even worse, convinced that they will not vote, need to seriously consider the grounds for their decision. There is a great metaphor to illustrate this utilitarian approach: Not voting because you think it does not matter anyway, is just like refusing to brush your teeth because no one would kiss you anyway. There does seem to be a correlation, but the causality is obviously reversed. That is why everyone needs to vote and make it matter.
Yet, the problem still remains – who to vote for. There are currently 25 candidates – 21 parties and 4 independents – plenty to find your lowest common denominator. It may not be the most inspiring list of alternatives, but neither are many of the choices we make in our everyday life. According to recent polls, there are six parties that have the best chance of making it to Parliament: Communists, Liberal Democrats, Democrats, Liberals, Socialists and the new kid on the block – Renato Usatii’s spoiler ‘Homeland’ party. All these parties have too many flaws to even attempt a count, but the irony is that Moldova will unavoidably be ruled by a coalition of two, three or even four of them. Thus, not much will change indeed.