Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s governing party won the parliamentary elections of July 11, receiving a clear majority in Sunday’s elections. Sandu leads the Pro-Western Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS). Its main rival, the Party of Socialists, is led by former Moldovan president Igor Dodon. Second in the elections was the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (EBCS), an alliance which brings together Dodon’s socialist party and the Party of Communists. According to preliminary data released Monday PAS had 52.6% of the vote, while the EBCS had 27.3%, giving Sandu’s government majority representation in the 101-seat chamber.
Sandu has been president of Moldova since December 2020. Before that she was Minister of Education. She founded the liberal PAS, which advocates anti-corruption and government reform. According to Sandu, Moldova has been led by crime and a lack of government transparency, and this has left the country in economic crisis and increased the already rampant poverty.
Following the PAS win, President Sandu told Euronews Tonight that the election stood for “eliminating the corrupt judges and the corrupt prosecutors from the system, to clean up the other institutions and to make them independent of the influence of different corrupt groups, which have been stealing public money for a very long time.”
On July 11, Sandu was quick to post on Facebook, “I hope today will be the end of a hard era for Moldova, I hope today will be the end of the thieves’ reign over Moldova.” She expressed hope that the people of Moldova would soon feel the benefits of “a clean Parliament” and a government actually concerned with the problems of the population.
President Sandu based her campaign on establishing closer ties with the European Union, fighting corruption and building a democratic government. In an interview with Euronews, she commented on the rampant corruption in the country. “We are talking about money laundering, we’re talking about tax evasion, we’re talking about different corruption schemes,” she said. These make the Moldovan people poor, she said, and push many to leave the country.
Sandu’s vision for Moldovia is in stark contrast to that of former president Dodon, who has long-standing ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Dodon advocates a pro-Russia socialist government.
According to InfoTag, a local Moldovan news agency, Dodon conceded the electoral defeat. “These are the rules of democracy,” Dodon reportedly commented, “The change of parties in power occurs as a result of elections.” He congratulated PAS and President Maia Sandu on the victory, according to InfoTag. Dodon also commented on the dangers of one party having a “total monopoly on Moldovan politics,” according to an Al Jazeera report.
With one party against external intervention and European ties and another calling for further European unison, the Moldovan parliament will have to find a middle ground between Pro-Eastern and Pro-Western agendas. While Sandu’s parliamentary majority gives her an opportunity to implement a new reformist government, cooperation with the EBCS will prove essential to avoid social unrest.
Moldovia has more than three million registered voters. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) declared the election “competitive and well run”, according to Al Jazeera. There has yet to be any speculation of unfair election practices. While Transparency International ranked Moldova 115th of 180 countries in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, President Sandu stated in an interview with Euronews that the “new committee will now make information public.”
The election results give Moldova a unique opportunity for change, to transform the economy, eliminate the widespread government corruption and ensure basic human rights. However, the EBCS still holds representation in parliament. This means that change towards democracy, transparency and reform must occur quickly, but in a way that minimizes social discontent. The people of Moldova have long lived under deception from the banking system and justice system, and millions of people have left the country as a result. With Sandu’s reformist government now set to take office, the West and Moldovan citizens can look towards a democracy that strengthens its people.
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