The Republic of Moldova is torn between the European Union and Russia. In the presidential election, the pro-European forces have now clearly prevailed – and for the first time a woman.
In the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, the pro-European politician Maia Sandu will head the state. After her election victory, 48-year-old Sandu promised on Monday that she would like to have a future dialogue with Russia as well as with the European Union and the USA. Their election victory is seen as a blow to the Kremlin, which has close ties to the Eastern European country. Congratulations came from Brussels and Berlin.
Sandu prevailed on Sunday with just under 57.8 percent of the vote against the pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon, who only got around 42.2 percent of the vote. Sandu also turned to his supporters on Monday: “You have not lost. I will win your trust with concrete actions,” she promised and announced a turnaround for the country: “I want Moldova no longer with poverty, corruption and Emigration is associated. “
Sandu was already Prime Minister of Moldova in 2019
Dodon admitted defeat on Monday and congratulated Sandu. “The preliminary results show that my challenger won this election,” said Dodon. He criticized the runoff election for numerous manipulations and “direct interference” by Western politicians. Nevertheless, he called on his followers and also the supporters of his rival not to take to the streets. A destabilization of the country must absolutely be prevented.
Sandu, who surprisingly emerged as the winner of the first round of voting two weeks ago, was Prime Minister from June to November 2019, before their government was overthrown. She is the first woman in Moldova to take office as president. The moderately conservative politician used to work for the World Bank and stands for an EU-friendly course.
EU wants to deepen relations with Moldova
EU Council President Charles Michel said that the people of Moldova had “clearly chosen a path that benefits justice, the real fight against corruption and a fairer society”. The EU is ready to deepen its relations with Moldova.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also congratulated the election winner. He praised Sandus “forward-looking, optimistic program” and promised Moldova Germany’s support. The foreign policy spokesman for the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Jürgen Hardt, called the election victory a “good sign for Europe”. He emphasized the goal of binding the neighboring country of Romania “as closely as possible to the European Union and its values and standards”.
Putin also congratulates Sandu on his election victory
Before the election, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed the hope that Dodon would remain in office. On Monday, he nevertheless congratulated Sandu on winning the election. In a statement by the Kremlin, Putin expressed his expectation that the “constructive development of relations between our countries” would continue.
Russian media criticized Sandu as a US-funded politician who stood for a course of confrontation with Moscow. Sandu himself said in Russian that she wanted to fight those forces that were trying to split the neighboring country of EU member Romania. “We voted against further looting of our state,” said Sandu. The economist was trained in the USA.
Sandu must rule against Dodon’s socialists
Dodon has been president of the former Soviet republic since 2016. He is regarded as an ally of Russia and during the election campaign he continued to hold out the prospect of close relations with its “strategic partner” Moscow.
It will not be easy for Sandu as head of state. If Dodon resigns in December, the socialists who support him will still have a majority in parliament. Dodon said in Chisinau that a president in Moldova can only work effectively if he has the support of parliament and the government. The head of government is Dodon’s former advisor Ion Chicu.
The Republic of Moldova with its 3.5 million inhabitants has gone through several political crises in recent years. The country is divided between supporters of Europe and those who want to maintain close ties with Russia. Moldova is also one of the poorest countries in Europe. Past elections in Moldova were overshadowed by allegations of fraud.