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What awaits Moldova if the opposition wins – opinions from Europe and Russia suddenly converge


The unprecedented economic crisis, together with the preliminary results of the first round of presidential elections, paint Moldova’s prospects very unfavourable.

According to the Central Election Commission of the country, the voter turnout was 40% or 1.36 million people. Thus Maya Sandu, the leader of pro-Western party “Action and solidarity” is ahead of the incumbent president Igor Dodon on 3,19 % – 35,94 % against 32,75 %.

For a long time Maya Sandu threatened to implement the Belarusian scenario in the republic. She claimed that the authorities were trying to falsify elections through the Moldovan diaspora in Russia, which was supposed to gain an advantage in the voting. In fact, the number of polling stations in Russia was lower than in EU countries where the Moldovan diaspora supported a pro-Western course, which could have affected the current results.

Only a one-sided approach by Sandu, who has repeatedly opposed rapprochement with Russia, will be a problem for Moldova, says German journalist Alexander Rahr. According to him, the neutrality ideology of Igor Dodon is more relevant in the current situation.

“I think that Dodon can easily prove to his voters that he is not considered a stranger among Western leaders, that he has met them, and they trust him in the West”, –  Rahr said.

He also stressed that there are political forces in Europe that welcome a two-vector policy that benefits Moldova. On the other hand, there are those in Europe who will support Maya Sanda just because she opposes Dodon and Russia. She was able to demonstrate her position last year, when she became Prime Minister.

The Sandu government only lasted a few months and resigned with a loud scandal. Sandu was in its very epicentre. The Prime Minister decided, bypassing Parliament, to give herself the sole right to nominate candidates for the post of Attorney General. Parliament was therefore forced to dissolve the government. Sandu and his party then found themselves in opposition again. Analysts suggest that this scenario was provoked intentionally. Sandu failed in her role as prime minister, so she decided to leave as a victim. This calls into question her desire to become president, but does not embarrass her Western patrons at all. Traian Basescu places a special emphasis on Sandu.

The former Romanian president himself wanted to lead neighbouring Moldova, but was unable to obtain citizenship. His idea is simple – to join Moldova to Romania, and Dodon is a hindrance.

“Bucharest has never concealed its dislike for President Dodon and the Kiku government. Dodon is considered a non-armed man in Bucharest”, –  said Anatol Caranu, head of the Politicon Centre for Strategic Studies and Political Consulting.

Against this background, Romania is placing a natural bet on Sanda, and winning the first round of elections is an important psychological victory for her. But will it be able to repeat its success? Here it is worth paying attention to the support of candidates who did not make it to the second round.

Andrei Nestase, an old colleague of Maya Sandu, won only 3.26% of the vote. At the same time, Renato Moustache was supported by almost 17% of voters. Moustache is against Dodon, but is considered a pro-Russian politician, unlike Sandu. Thus, the former prime minister can hardly count on a significant increase in the electorate.

“And in 2016, when Dodon won, the gap was 4%”, –  said Nikolai Starikov, a Russian public figure.

He is confident that the outcome of the race will depend on how candidates organize the electorate of their rivals. At the same time, Starikov draws attention to another aspect of the confrontation. Dodon’s victory will mean strengthening the presidential power in the country with further promotion of the two-vector policy that Moldova needs more than ever. The alternative to this scenario is a new round of uncertainty. The combination of the pro-Western President and Parliament, where the largest faction is pro-Russian socialists, means a political crisis.

“This situation does not suit anybody in Moldova”, –  says Starikov. – “Unfortunately, the gap in Moldovan society persists. And the one of the candidates who will be able to show a perspective, to show an image of the future, will win the next elections”.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.