A pro-European party won in Moldova’s parliamentary elections last Sunday; Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), the party of current pro-Western President Maia Sandu, obtained enough votes for a parliamentary majority and can thus form a government on its own. PAS’ main opponent in the early parliamentary elections held on July 11 was the former Socialist and Communist political block backing former President Igor Dodon, who is known to be committed to forging closer ties with Russia.
The center-right PAS has scored close to 53 percent in the elections, while Igor Dodon’s Moscow-friendly Communists and Socialists (BECS) bloc obtained a little more than 27 percent.
While 3.2 million eligible voters were expected at the polls, just more than 48 percent of them cast ballots. This is somewhat lower than the turnout in the 2019 presidential election, when 50.57 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, which was enough for the current president, Maia Sandu, to gain a parliamentary majority. In the July 11 elections, 52.37 percent voted in favor of PAS, for a total of 63 seats in the 101-seat parliament in Chişinău, but after the redistribution of fractional votes, additional seats could also go to PAS. There are some optimistic estimates that PAS could end up with a 70-strong representation in the legislature.
Out of a total of 1.47 million votes cast, about 200,000 came from the diaspora, which thus accounted for a considerable electoral base for PAS. An overwhelming majority of Moldovans living abroad (85.9 percent) voted for Maia Sandu’s party.
In Chişinău, the PAS also won by 56.77 percent, while the united block of the Communist and Socialist Parties gained 28.4 percent (nationally they obtained 27.48). The third party to enter parliament was the ŞOR Party — the party of convicted businessman Ilan Shor (or Şor) — with 5.75 percent of the vote. Shor was convicted of fraud and money laundering but denies all counts.
“I hope that today will be the end of a difficult era. I hope that the rule of thieves over Moldova will end,” Sandu said in a Facebook statement on Sunday.
Both the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President Klaus Iohannis congratulated Moldovan citizens and greeted the electoral success of the pro-European, reformist party on Monday. According to the Romanian government, the election result is a victory of democracy, and it is also a decisive step for Moldova’s rapprochement to the European Union.
Moldova (officially: the Republic of Moldova) has a population of about 3.4 million, the largest ethnic group are the Moldovans, who speak a variant of Romanian.
Maia Sandu is the first female head of state of a former Soviet republic. She won a sweeping victory over the pro-Russian Igor Dodon in last November’s election.
Sandu, who earlier worked at the World Bank as an economist, took office in December and immediately demanded the resignation of the government and called for early parliamentary elections. The pro-Russian prime minister backed by the Socialist Party of Moldova (PSRM), Ion Chicu, did resign that month. The announcement of early elections was possible due to the fact that the parliament twice rejected Sandu’s candidate for the prime minister’s office. In Moldova, the 101 members of the unicameral legislature are elected directly for a term of four years.
Title image: The July 11 early parliamentary elections in Moldova are viewed as an important victory of pro-European powers over the pro-Russian ones. Moldovan President Maia Sandu’s Party will be able to form a government.