Vlad Plahotniuc was elected as the president of the Democratic Party from Moldova at the 8th convention of the political party on December 24. He started his speech by saying: "Our vision should focus more on within the country. It could be formulated as “Here, at Home, in Moldova.”"
Below is the entire discourse of the DPM president:
Dear invitees, dear colleagues,
I shall start by welcoming the Democratic Party delegates at this congress. I would like to welcome invitees to the congress from the country and guests from abroad and to thank them for the kind words they have said about the DPM.
I would like to thank them for being by our side at this important moment and for all the support they have given us over the years.
Since it is the first time we are meeting in such a broad format since the recent presidential election, I would like to congratulate everyone for the work put in the campaign and for the good result we have achieved.
The congratulations are by all means also meant for the person who represented us in the election, our colleague Marian Lupu.
Both our opinion polls and those commissioned by international organizations have shown clearly the DPM’s steady growth since the last election.
Since 2010 to-date we have been through a very interesting phenomenon ¾ the more we have been attacked, the stronger we have been growing.
This phenomenon also shows that the world is changing, that people become more pragmatic, they want politicians who act and not those engaged in rhetoric.
Today I would like to talk about this new reality and about how we could adapt our political activities to it.
In recent days many of you, both heads of area party organizations, regions’ heads, counsellors, and mayors invited me to agree to be nominated as the Democratic Party President.
I shall repeat now, in front of the Congress, what I have told you during the discussions. Every time I take a new road, I engage in a new project, I assess the goal and my ability to achieve it.
I could not allow myself to accept the invitation to become the Democratic Party President without you being able to analyze my goal, my vision of the Party development, and the project I would come to run the Party with.
Therefore, I shall share with you now some points related to my vision of the Democratic Party and of the Republic of Moldova.
Then let us analyze whether this is what you expect and, attention, whether you are prepared for us to engage in the project together, regardless of what function each of us performs.
My political project has two components. The first one is related to the Democratic Party development and the political class modernization in Moldova. The second component is my personal vision of the Republic of Moldova’s development.
I shall start with the political component.
The world is changing, politics has been undergoing profound transformations globally, people’s expectations of the political class are different from those they had to-date. The time of self-styled political heroes and opportunists is gone. People have already started replacing politicians if the latter fail to understand their expectations. This year we could see how citizens in various countries upset by their vote all the calculations political analysts had made and defied projections and opinion polls.
People in America, Europe, other regions worldwide, and even those in our neighbourhood are already looking for politicians with a concrete message, able to act firmly, to make courageous decisions in order to improve people’s lives.
People’s requirements to the political class have become much more stringent. Citizens have grown more impatient and more pragmatic. They are seeking new politicians who can offer new governance style they could vote for directly during next election.
In order to win the parliamentary election in 2018, we must change drastically and adapt to the new reality, it is the only way for us to succeed.
Time has come for the DPM to come up with a new mode of making politics conditioned exactly by the changes people demand from it.
I gave a lot of thought to how we should position ourselves on the political scene and what we should do in order to increase the number of the Party supporters.
Following the review of numerous and diverse options, I realized that, as a matter of fact, solution lies in a very simple idea.
The best place the DPM should occupy in order to be close to the people is not on the political scene, not in the spotlight where each party plays a role and then awaits applause. It is not on the political scene that we should crowd together with other parties ¾ for once we should reach out to the people, we should not look down on them for it is a big mistake that keeps parties far from the people!
And when does a party have a chance to do this better than ever if not now when it rules? Even today the Democratic Party should position itself as a party which brings concrete results, as a party which delivers, as a party of action.
This means making politics for the people and not participating in a show on television or in social networks as Vlad the Impaler or the Snow White. Overstating geopolitical positioning is not productive either, it is not at all for the society’s benefit.
There are various parties in Moldova ¾ pro-Russian, pro-Romanian, and pro-European ones, each has its piece of the pie in a campaign and then generates nothing and waits for the next election.
More seriously, such forced division of society causes hysteria in the population and creates an atmosphere of insecurity in the country.
In Moldova, one is under the impression, especially during the campaigns and often thereafter, that Europeans, Romanians, Russians, and Americans are engaged in the political battles. But where are Moldovans? What do our parties do? They declare themselves to be pro-Russian or pro-European and they compete in their profound knowledge of history and geopolitics. And where are Moldovans in this entire story? Which party is that of Moldovans? What party can Moldovans go to confident it would resolve their problems?
I believe it should, of course, be our party, the Democratic Party. It should because it is a party of initiative, a party of professionals, a party which finds solutions to people’s problems, a European party in the way it makes politics, and a forward-looking party in terms of its modern vision of the country’s development.
To this end, the DPM should become more open and let people participate directly in the Party’s activities, influence its decisions, and actually benefit from the Party’s activities.
The Democratic Party is the main ruling party but it means it also has the largest number of institutional levers, as well as commensurate responsibilities.
I would like to tell you that an important responsibility, a reform to be promoted if we wish to modernize ourselves is change in mentality.
The Democratic Party should be a party which contributes substantially to this change in mentality and it is a goal I undertake to achieve within the framework of my political project.
I believe this change in mentality could also deepen significantly the de-politicization of public institutions talked about so much.
Everyone should understand that going to a court in order to influence it in their favour no longer works.
Likewise, no one must feel protected when violating law. We should understand that time will come for all those who steal to go to jail regardless of their connections or strings they can pull.
The DPM will come up with an initiative to reform the political class, starting with streamlining the Parliament and the Government, actually handing over in the people’s hands control over the Parliament, and identifying levers by means of which citizens could penalize those who do not deliver during their mandate.
We as a party will but benefit from that, so will our country. However, populists and political opportunists, those who still believe they can delude people by their nice discourse will lose. Those who are used to manipulating people in violent protests or social networks will lose. The fact that there is a lot to be done now, though, does not at all mean that what we at the DPM have done to-date was not good.
On the contrary, our performance at the most recent election and our representation in the Parliament shows that we are the most powerful party.
However, our real potential we should aim for is much higher; but to that end we should open up and expand our offer to various social categories.
Summarizing the above, I propose to you today that the Democratic Party become a party which takes over proactively people’s agenda and implements it on a day-to-day basis with the help of our colleagues in the Government and the Parliament.
The Democratic Party has been acknowledged already and is much appreciated by Western partners. We are perceived as those promoting challenging reforms, sometimes painful ones but extremely necessary for the country’s economy.
Therefore, we are a party which did and does something others have not done. They, for election-related reasons, did not dare to implement the reforms; we, however, had the courage and character to carry them out for strategic reasons for the country.
Time will tell we were right; and people will understand us if not now than, for sure, later. I propose that we follow this strategy in the future ¾ courage and character in actions and direct responsibility to citizens.
I have presented to you in the first part of my speech some of the critical elements of my vision regarding the Party’s modernization and its positioning closer to citizens and their needs. However, there are also objectives beyond powers of any single party and exceeding exclusive sphere of that party’s vision.
This is what we are going to talk about below, in the presentation of my personal project. I believe it is any politician’s duty to engage in the promotion of values and causes which would have a fundamental impact on society.
Like any country which plans for a future for many years to come, the Republic of Moldova needs a vision which would define it and which would encourage its citizens. However, until now, not a single political body or leader managed to offer a platform based on which we all would know how to relate to the country we live in and to its development outlook.
All the solutions of geopolitical order, all of which were presented over the past twenty-five years, do not rise to the rank of a vision or, if you will, state doctrine. Most political offers in Moldova were party-, rather than country-, related.
Speaking about projects to integrate in this or that external body (European integration, integration in the customs union, unification with Romania), we have to understand that they were and are viewed not as an end in itself but as a means towards something. Even European integration is but a higher step in the staircase we have been walking rather than a final stop.
Certainly, question remains valid ¾ what do we want to obtain through European integration? It is a question we, the entire political class, and citizens should have a clear-cut answer to. And I am confident we can identify a vision which would satisfy us all.
I believe our country’s vision could be defined based on citizens’ desire to have a country they and their children would want to live, learn, and work in without having to go and look for a penny and a job all over the world.
I insist on the idea that our vision should focus more on within the country rather than on the outside. It could be formulated as “Here, at Home, in Moldova.” It is a vision not only each citizen but even our state needs. I know from the stories of those who left they would have preferred to stay at home, in Moldova if they had had better living conditions and promise of a decent future here. Meanwhile, however, many have chosen to leave.
I am aware of all these persistent problems our country faces. I understand the disappointment of the people who see no purpose in their home country and feel disoriented about their and their children’s future.
Based on these ideas, I have decided to launch a campaign to promote a nation-wide vision, a vision which brings together grievances of all of us, regardless of ethnicity, age, ideological preferences, or social status.
A vision which would inspire confidence that everything we will do related to the economy, politics, or social issues, everything we will do collectively or individually would result in better living Here, at Home, in Moldova.
I would like us all to understand that what we are doing, in any sphere, related to the administration or education reforms, attracting investment and creating jobs, sponsoring cultural and education events, supporting sports and anti-violence campaigns, we are doing all that for ourselves, for our country, for our future.
I shall invest a lot of personal efforts, I shall urge the Party, I shall appeal to other political bodies for each to promote on its way, using its own means, this idea as that above political interests or disputes.
It is a vision nobody can have monopoly on, but each can become an author of.
With the benefit of the hindsight and looking at the horizon, at the years to come, looking at the generation which will take our place, I understand it is our duty to offer more sense and more determination both to the country and to us as a people. It is time to put an end to uncertainties and to deal, purposefully, with our common home, Moldova. This is what could unite us and truly consolidate us.
The new leadership team we will vote for today should assume the Party modernization project and the goal of making sure we go to the election in 2018 as a party which has adapted to the real needs of the people, as a party of Moldovans, as a party which has managed to put things right not only in its own yard but in the country, too.
I have introduced some of my future intentions and projects. I invite you to implement them together, to work as a strong and united team, and to show we can adapt to the new political realities and people’s expectations.
And with regard to our team, I have some special thoughts I would like to share with our colleagues Marian Lupu and Dumitru Diacov.
I shall start with Marian Lupu whom, first of all, I would like to thank for everything he has done for the DPM and to congratulate for the lessons of political maturity he has taught the entire political class, having contributed decisively to the stability in the country.
I would also like to thank him for the good cooperation we have had to-date and for his team spirit. Marian Lupu remains a fundamental pillar in the Democratic Party and I am sure his support will be of enormous importance for the Party modernization process.
I would also like to thank personally Dumitru Diacov for everything he has done since the Party establishment to-date, for the gesture of political maturity he made when he agreed to hand over the DPM’s helm to Mr. Marian Lupu, and for the important things we have learned from him in politics.
Together with Dumitru Diacov, Marian Lupu, and other colleagues some of which are in this room today, we have been through historic moments when in 2009 we laid the foundations for the pro-European rule and put an end to the Communist era.
It is a crucial moment in the recent history of our Party; I hope several years from now we will talk about today’s moment, too.
Thank you so much for your attention, I would also like to thank you for having come to spend the first part of the Christmas Eve in our political family so that we could together lay the foundation for our new political project for development of the country.