July 25, 2021

Moldova elects its deputies, ambitious pro-Europeans

Polling stations opened in Moldova on Sunday July 11 for early legislative elections which should strengthen pro-European President Maia Sandu against her pro-Russian rivals.

After his large victory in November 2020 in the presidential election ahead of his pro-Russian predecessor, Mr.me Sandu needs to take control of Parliament to implement the policy she has promised, starting with the fight against endemic corruption in this small country wedged between Ukraine and Romania.

Read the portrait: Maia Sandu, the new face of Moldova

Some 101 deputies will be elected for a four-year term, with polling stations opening at 7 a.m. local time (6 a.m. French time) and closing at 9 p.m. At the top of the polls, the Action and Solidarity party (PAS, center right) of Mr.me Sandu is credited with 35% to 37% of the voting intentions, against 21% to 25% for the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS) led by Mr. Dodon.

One of the poorest countries in Europe, Moldova has been shaken since its independence in 1991 by repeated political crises, while having to manage a frozen conflict in Transdniestria, a pro-Russian separatist territory that is out of its control.

“The time for change is coming”

Former World Bank economist, Mme Sandu, 48, had dissolved in April the assembly still controlled by Mr. Dodon, and wants to believe in a clear victory for his party which would prevent the country from another period of instability. “We have a chance to get rid of thieves and elect a good and honest government”, she said Thursday in a video address in Romanian. In a second speech in Russian, the other language spoken in the country, she said that “The time for change is coming in Moldova”.

Slogans that resonate with many Moldovans, tired of corruption scandals, the most resounding of which in 2015 concerned the disappearance of a billion dollars – the equivalent of 15% of GDP – from the coffers of three banks .

Also read this article from 2015: A billion dollars missing from Moldovan banks

Igor Dodon accused him on Friday of the authorities of preparing « provocations » for the elections and brandished the threat of demonstrations ” to protect [sa] victory “ electoral.

The diaspora, which represents more than a third of the voters in this country affected by a very strong emigration, could play a crucial role while it largely supported Mr.me Sandu in the presidential election.

For many analysts, Sunday’s vote should in any case deal a blow to Russia, keen to keep a grip on Moldova. Former Soviet republic of 2.6 million inhabitants, Moldova oscillates according to the elections between the partisans of a rapprochement with Moscow and those of a European integration.

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Maia Sandu has already irritated the Kremlin by saying she wants to see the Russian garrison based in Transdniestria, a separatist territory that has escaped Moldovan control for nearly thirty years, leave. Instead, she would welcome observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The World with AFP