Surprise result in Moldava's presidential election

The pro-European former prime minister Maia Sandu has won the first round of the presidential election in the Republic of Moldova. Sandu secured 36.16 percent of the votes, while the pro-Russian socialist and incumbent Igor Dodon received 32.61 percent. There will be a run-off vote with the two candidates two weeks from now. Observers analyse the reasons for this surprising result and the potential consequences.

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Nezavisimaya Gazeta (RU) /

Hard times ahead for Transnistria

A victory for Sandu will have far-reaching consequences, Nezavisimaya Gazeta predicts:

“Sandu will certainly get the votes of the four pro-European candidates in the second round; whether the supporters of the two leftist candidates will vote for Dodon is questionable, however. ... Sandu declared she would strengthen relations with Russia as president, but that the EU, Romania and Ukraine would have priority. When she was prime minister, she said that she wanted to follow Kiev's example, mostly concerning Donbass. That is why she is unlikely to accept the status quo regarding Transnistria [the republic within Moldova that is not recognised internationally], and will instead try to end the Russian military presence there. So if Sandu wins, Transnistria is in for hard times.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Dodon will fight to the end

Analyst Iulian Chifu writes in Adevărul why he believes the president did so poorly in the first round of the election:

“The mobilisation of the diaspora [in western Europe] was exemplary, many voters queued up and waited to cast their ballots. There was also a protest vote in Chişinău and above all in the entire Republic of Moldova. Dodon's self-importance, his failures in dealing with coronavirus, the disastrous economic situation, the lack of prospects - all this has resulted in this outcome. ... Igor Dodon's presidency is on the rocks. He still has a lot of political leverage. And he is still using it. It's about his career, his assets, his freedom, his life. He will continue playing the game up to the last moment!”

Contributors (RO) /

A worn-out incumbent

Dodon's hopes that Moscow will offer him further support in the election are in vain, comments political analyst Sorin Ioniță in Contributors:

“The Kremlin has helped him in this election campaign with funds and political advisors (who were undercover FSB intelligence officers), but Dodon has the aura of a worn-out politician who can travel abroad in just two directions: to Moscow and to the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos, where he lights useful candles for his people like every socialist from the Balkans. In reality the Russians were never enthusiastic about him. ... In an internal document he is classified as "ненадежный" (unreliable). It is entirely possible that his party will also give up on him if he loses, and following the suggestion of the Russians, will replace him with Ion Ceban, the mayor of Chişinău, who is younger and more capable.”