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A man cast his vote in Moldova's 2021 election
Moldovans have finished voting in the snap general election to choose 101 lawmakers for the country's parliamentImage: Gavriil Grigorov/dpa/TASS/picture alliance
PoliticsRepublic of Moldova

Moldova election: Pro-EU party headed to victory

July 11, 2021

The country's president, Maia Sandu, called the snap election in April after two attempts to form a government failed. She wants to stem Russian influence and bring the impoverished country closer to the EU.


Moldovans voted on Sunday in a snap election called by the country's president in a bid to weaken the influence of pro-Russia parties.

President Maia Sandu's pro-European party has received more than than 52% of the vote, over 99% of the ballots counted.

The opposition led by former President Igor Dodon and former President Vladimir Voronin has garnered over 27% of the vote.

What has Moldova's leadership said about the election?

Sandu, who defeated Kremlin-backed Dodon for the top job in November, said the vote was "a chance to get rid of thieves and choose a holistic and good government." 

"It’s time to clear the country of clans, corrupt officials and manipulators,” she added.

Sandu has pledged that her center-right Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) will build closer ties with the EU and fight corruption in the ex-Soviet country.

Moldovan president Maia Sandu meets German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Moldova's president Maia Sandu was in Berlin in May for talks with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as part of her drive for closer ties with the EUImage: Michele Tantussi/REUTERS

The former World Bank economist, 49, wants to overhaul the judicial system, raise salaries and pensions and amend the constitution to make it easier to punish graft.

The ex-Soviet state is one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Sandu dissolved parliament in April after two failed attempts to form a government. Dodon's Socialist Party, which formed an alliance with the communists, claimed Sandu's pro-Western policy would lead to the collapse of the state.

Protesters wave banners and display placards in Chisinau
Thousands of people took part in a protest in the capital, Chisinau, against corruption in DecemberImage: Mihai Karaush/Sputnik/dpa/picture alliance

Why is Russia's influence strong in Moldova?

Moldova lies between Ukraine and EU member Romania, where both Brussels and Moscow vie for influence. 

Most of Moldova's territory was annexed from Romania by the Soviet Union during WWII.

The overwhelming majority of the country's 3.5 million population speaks Romanian as their first language, but Russian is commonly used among minorities living in the country. Several big political parties also favor closer ties to Russia.

There are as many as 1,500 Russian troops in the pro-Russian breakaway republic of Transnistria close to the Ukrainian border.

But the international community has never recognized its self-declared independence.

What is the level of corruption in Moldova?

Moldova was hit by a huge corruption scandal in 2014 when $1 billion disappeared from three Moldovan banks.

Judges convicted Ilan Shor, an Israel-born businessman, of fraud and money laundering in connection to the scandal. 

Last year, an IMF report warned that "corruption is perceived to be systemic" and "strengthening rule of law is Moldova’s top priority."

Shor, who denies wrongdoing and is appealing the guilty verdicts, leads one of the more than 20 parties and blocs contesting Sunday's vote.

To enter parliament, independents must pick up at least 2% of the votes cast, a party must win at least 5% and a bloc at least 7%. 

jf, wd/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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