Presidential elections were held in Moldova in mid-November. Much to surprise, the pro-European candidate Maia Sandu won a devastating victory with almost 58% of votes, including 90% support at the foreign polling stations. The EU and the Member States have already managed to speak out in favour of Sandu, who has chosen a course towards Europeanisation of Moldova.
However, it seems that an ex-President Igor Dodon is not going just to leave the chair. Repeating the experience of some Eastern European “eternal” governors, he is trying in every way to prevent Maia Sandu from smoothly coming to power.
Initially, after the elections, Dodon filed several lawsuits with absurd arguments and fake evidence, challenging the election results. After this initiative was unsuccessful, Dodon decided to take advantage of the hastily formed coalition in the parliament of the loyal to him Party of Socialists, the Șor Party and some other MPs. As a result, in just a few days, parliament passed a number of populist and controversial laws. Among them –a package of laws on reducing the retirement age, approving the state budget, expanding the autonomy of Gagauzia, securing the status of interethnic communication for the Russian language and creating an opportunity for the return of Russian information and analytical programs, as well as several other bills.
However, the last straw was the law on limiting the Presidential powers, which Dodon himself barely regained in 2019. According to this document, the power to control the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) is transferred from the president to the parliament.
Thus, on December 6, several thousand people protested demanding the resignation of the government, new parliamentary elections, a rollback of “reforms” and the early inauguration of Sandu instead of the appointed date of December 24.
However, this parliamentary demarche is not the only problem on the way of Maia Sandu. With the disunited oppositional coalition in parliament, Sandu is unlikely to be able to achieve the promised European integration course of reforms. Besides, the new President will also face a number of other problems connected with the scale of corruption, nepotism and the power of the oligarchy, that have been tearing Moldova apart for several years.
The issue of national security is also acute, because of the all-encompassing interest of Russia in retaining influence in the country, which creates many reasons for concern.
It is also worth considering the economic situation (Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe) and the severe consequences of the COVID-19 for the sectors of the country’s life.
In this regard, the question remains whether Maia Sandu will be able to ameliorate the situation in Moldova under such conditions.
By Yelyzaveta Markova
“À Peine Élue, Maia Sandu Dénonce Une ‘Usurpation Du Pouvoir’ - Le Courrier d’Europe Centrale.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://courrierdeuropecentrale.fr/a-peine-elue-maia-sandu-denonce-une-usurpation-du-pouvoir/.
“Moldova: Pro-Western Maia Sandu Won the Presidency, but the Battle for Power Is Only Just Beginning | Euronews.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.euronews.com/2020/11/16/moldova-pro-western-maia-sandu-won-the-presidency-but-the-battle-for-power-is-only-just-be.
“Thousands Protest in Call for Resignation of Moldovan Government | Euronews.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.euronews.com/2020/12/06/thousands-protest-in-call-for-resignation-of-moldovan-government.
“Protesters in Moldova Demand Early Parliamentary Election - France 24.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.france24.com/en/video/20201207-protesters-in-moldova-demand-early-parliamentary-election.
“Moldova’s Incoming President Stages Protests in Tussle over Control of Intelligence Service – EURACTIV.Com.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/moldovas-incoming-president-stages-protests-in-tussle-over-control-of-intelligence-service/.
“Thousands in Moldova Call for Government’s Resignation – EURACTIV.Com.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/thousands-in-moldova-call-for-governments-resignation/.
“TV8.Md – Sursa de Informare a Oamenilor Liberi.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://tv8.md/.
“Moldovans Elected an Anti-Corruption President, Avoiding a ‘Colour Revolution’ - New Eastern Europe.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/11/18/moldovans-elected-an-anti-corruption-president-avoiding-a-colour-revolution/.
“Challenging the Status Quo in Moldova. What Now after Maia Sandu’s Victory? - New Eastern Europe.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/12/01/challenging-the-status-quo-in-moldova-what-now-after-maia-sandus-victory/.
“Moldova Is Entering a Period of Protest in the Midst of a Pandemic - New Eastern Europe.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://neweasterneurope.eu/2020/12/09/moldova-is-entering-a-period-of-protest-in-the-midst-of-a-pandemic/.
“Supporters of Moldova’s New President Protest in Tussle over Intelligence Service | Reuters.” Accessed December 22, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-moldova-politics-protests-idCAKBN28D1I6.