Back to elections: how Moldovans for the first time in 20 years was elected President

Sunday, 30 October, Moldova hosted the first in the XXI century direct nationwide election of the President. As reported by Reuters, the election was not conducted exit polls, and the first assessment of the CEC will arrive only after midnight. Based on the data of sociologists, it can be assumed that none of the candidates receives more than half the votes, so in two weeks, November 13, to be held the second round of voting.

The leader in the race was the candidate of the Party of socialists (psrm) Igor Dodon, followed by a noticeable margin is representative of the right-wing liberal party “Action and solidarity” Maia Sandu. One recent poll (conducted 10 to 16 October, the Bureau of the Intellect Group) gave Dodon 31%, and Sandu — 15% of the vote with more than 10% undecided with the election.

Thus, the advantage of Dodona, according to the survey, was two-fold. The third most popular politician was the former acting President of Moldova Marian Lupu, leader of the Democratic party. However, right before the election, on October 26, he withdrew his candidacy in favour of Sandu, after that she actually became the single candidate of the right-wing forces. Lupu in the presidential race surely was third, and the October survey ASDM has shown that he is even ahead of Sandu 0.2 percentage points


These sociologists, as he confessed to a magnifying glass, have influenced his opinion, forcing to refuse from participation in the presidential race. “I have carefully examined the data. One can see that for a candidate from the right flank every voice — said on Wednesday a politician. — Moldova needs a Pro-European President, who will work together with the Parliament and the government.”

Support Sandu, former Minister of health, by a magnifying glass looks at least strange. The fact that the movement Sandu was created in the midst of the protests in Moldova as an opposition movement, while the Democratic party Lupu leads the governing coalition, which is opposed by and Sandu, and its main rival Igor Dodon.

In the Wake of the protests in March 2016 constitutional court of Moldova has decided to move on from the election of the President by members of Parliament to a direct popular vote. Previously for the approval of the head of state required a 3/5 votes of deputies, to ensure that it is extremely difficult because of the fragmentation of the factions, none of which there is no majority in Parliament.

The decision of the constitutional court is linked to the real impossibility of the election of the President of the national Parliament, says the head of chair of international security and foreign policy of Russia Department of national security, Ranepa by Natalia Kharitonova. “Oligarchy is not just the necessary safeguards to maintain the business, they need new opportunities for expansion. And here he needs predictable and better controlled political course”, — the expert believes.

Already on Thursday, when Lupu has withdrawn his candidacy, the Moldovan Omega news Agency, citing sources, reported that cell the ruling Democratic party met with officials, advising them to vote for Dodon, but not for the “United Pro-Western candidate” Sandu.

On Friday, he urged all presidential candidates (there are eight) to sign a statement of refusal from cooperation with businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc — Lupu as Deputy leader of the Democratic party. Sandu replied that “will not sign any contract nor Dodon nor his boss Plahotniuc”.

Financier, trader and philanthropist, plahotniuc is one of the richest men in Moldova. His fortune is estimated to range from $300 million to $2 billion Agence France-RFI calls him “the gray cardinal of Moldova,” a February survey by CBS-AXA revealed that Plahotniuc has the highest rating among leading politicians in the country — 93% of citizens Express distrust.

Who will be friends

The fight against systemic corruption and “politicization of state institutions” should be a priority of the Moldovan authorities for the successful completion of the process of European integration — in February 2015 drew the attention of the head of the EU foreign Ministers. The Association agreement of Moldova with the EU was prepared in the summer of 2014 and after the successful ratification by all parties, entered into force on 1 July 2016.

Moscow negatively reacted to this agreement and in July 2014 began to consider the possible economic response to the European integration of the former Soviet Republic. First and foremost it was about the abolition of the zero trading fees, which was introduced from 1 September 2014.

According to the FCS of Russia, in 2015 the turnover of the Russian-Moldovan trade was $1.22 bln (including $1.03 billion in Russian exports and $185 million the import from Moldova). In 2014 the volume of trade fell by almost a third: they were $1.79 billion ($1.48 billion exports from Russia and a $316 — imports from Moldova).

“Two years ago, when it was signed the Association agreement with the EU, we opposed him. Now we can say that it did not bring the country any benefits,” said before the vote, Igor Dodon. According to him, the President has no authority to denounce, but the socialist Party may submit the question of foreign policy orientation to a referendum.

At the time of publication of the material headquarters Sandhu did not respond to a request . However, shortly before the elections in an interview to “Kommersant”, the politician said that he supports the course towards integration with the EU: “I think this is the most successful model of development. It is the experience of other countries that joined the EU over the past twenty plus years.”

“Today there are no Pro-Russian political forces. There is campaign rhetoric, playing on the interests and aspirations of voters,” — said Kharitonov. According to her, if he wins, do not expect that he will be able to withdraw from the Association agreement with the EU. “The most that can count the opponents of the Pro-Western politicians, Pro-Moldova action of Dodona. That is, he will do what is truly beneficial to today’s Moldova, but without sharp movements and maneuvers,” — says the analyst. In any case, emphasizes Kharitonov, the President’s role in the selection of foreign policy of Moldova is small.

Already in the summer of 2016, just before the entry into force of the Association agreement with the EU, Moscow has offered Chisinau a plan for the restoration of trade relations. Among the requirements to comply with technical, veterinary and meteorological standards include a requirement to repay the debt “Moldovagaza” to “Gazprom”, which is more than $5 billion And 90% of the debt lies with the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (PMR).

On the other side of the river

Back in 2006, 97% of residents of Transnistria voted for joining Russia. The state Duma then considered a legitimate vote, although the OSCE did not recognize the results. In September 2016, the President of the PMR Evgeny Shevchuk, based on this referendum, decided to bring the legal system of the Republic in accordance with Russian legislation. In December, TMR will be the election of the President, Shevchuk announced his candidacy for a second term.

On the question of political dialogue with the authorities of Tiraspol after the presidential elections in Transnistria Igor Dodon said that he intends to maintain a dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol, regardless of their results. The socialist candidate stressed that advocates the federalization of Moldova.

“On the Transnistrian issue, the first thing to do, and what you can do is to stop the Moldovan officials to participate in corrupt schemes with Transnistrian officials, said Sandhu in conversation with “Kommersant”. The second is to show that in Moldova to live better, than in Transnistria. Now it is not, because corruption and poverty here and there”.

“On the resolution of the Transnistrian problem in the current scenario forces the question. It is generally a different story — a lot depends on the Transnistria, which in December held its presidential election and from other regional and non-regional players”, — said Kharitonov.