Who will be Moldova's new president?
Citizens of the Republic of Moldova will elect a new president in a run-off ballot on 13 November. Socialist Igor Dodon, widely perceived as pro-Russian, emerged from the first round of voting on Sunday with 48 percent, while former education minister Maia Sandu, regarded as pro-European, followed with 38 percent. To casting the election as a choice between Russia and the West is to oversimplify the situation, commentators assert.
No one cares about the country
The election is being reduced to the question of whether the pro-Western or the pro-Russian candidate wins - but neither the West nor Russia care about the country, Contributors believes:
“The tragedy is that the country's geopolitical significance is no longer as great as many analysts once said it was. Moldova won't receive support from the West or from the East, because it has no significance for Russia, the EU or the US. None of the major powers on this continent would risk a conflict with the other over Moldova (they didn't even do it with Ukraine, which is far more important). ... Moscow won't even provide financial support for Igor Dodon's government if he happens to win. This will be the final episode in a long series of disappointments and illusions which the country's population has experienced in recent years.”
Oligarch will determine who wins
The key figure in the presidential election is oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, writes political analyst Radu Carp on his blog with Adevărul:
“To understand the election we shouldn't be looking at who is pro-East and who is pro-West; you need to know who backs the current oligarch regime and who is against it. Plahotniuc knows very well that Dodon and Sandu both have a common goal: they want to take away his power. So Plahotniuc will support Dodon in the second round of voting, as he did in the first. The reason behind this strange alliance is that Plahotniuc and the government of Prime Minister Pavel Filip present themselves as partners of the West, unlike the [potential] pro-Russian president Dodon, who prefers to travel to Moscow rather than to Brussels. … If Dodon seeks conflict with the oligarchs, Plahotniuc will remind him of how he supported him in the current elections. [Anti-corruption activist] Maia Sandu, on the other hand, would be the worst option for Plahotniuc. So the oligarch will do everything in his power to prevent her from winning.”