Moldova: victory for the president - and for Europe?

The Action and Solid Party (PAS), which has close ties to pro-EU president Maia Sandu, won a clear victory in Moldova's parliamentary election on Sunday with 52.8 percent of the vote. The pro-Russian communists and socialists under Sandu's predecessor Igor Dodon trailed behind with just 27.2 percent. With their previous parliamentary majority, Dodon's supporters had blocked the formation of a government for months.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Desperately escaping Russian influence

For Jutarnji list, there can be no telling that Moldovan voters will turn towards Europe on the long turn:

“In one of the poorest countries in Europe, what Moscow's Kommersant called an 'electoral revolution' has happened, steering this smallest post-Soviet country away from Moscow's influence and towards Europe, whether Brussels likes it or not. Moldova, as a poor, unwanted, distant relative, is desperately knocking on Europe's door and has basically declared its intention to change its geostrategic direction. ... Moldovan analysts say it is now Brussels' turn to come up with concrete actions to support political changes and avoid reviving pro-Russian options, which despite this defeat have not disappeared from the political scene.”

Radio France Internationale (RO) /

Brussels used millions in aid as bait

The EU Commission approved 600 million euros for a reconstruction plan in Moldova at the beginning of June. But Brussels expects something in return, columnist Ovidiu Nahoi explains in RFI România:

“Moldova is the only country in the Eastern Neighbourhood for which the EU has opened up such financial assistance. The funds will be invested in road infrastructure, the energy network, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, education projects, judicial reform and the fight against corruption. ... The condition for releasing the money was the installation of a pro-European government in Chișinău - goal achieved. But from now on that alone won't be enough, because the money will be linked to the implementation of the promised reforms.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Foster Europeanisation without liberalisation

wPolityce.pl laments that Poland does not have greater influence in Moldova:

“As soon as Berlin goes all out with its agenda there, a pale copy of the 'open society' model with a focus on 'LGBT rights' or ecology' will emerge in yet another country. Therefore, Polish efforts to build the Three Seas Initiative are being put to the test in a tiny country in the immediate vicinity of the Black Sea. The challenge is Europeanisation untouched by left-liberal ideas.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Now the changes must come

The result is a vote of confidence for Sandu but may also be her last chance, writes the taz:

“This not only ends a political stalemate that has lasted for months, but also opens up the possibility of implementing Sandu's ambitious reform agenda with a stable government. But such an undertaking is a Herculean task in Moldova, where a large part of the population of around 4 million lives on or under the poverty line. Corruption is endemic and partly responsible for the failure of several previous liberal governments. ... Sandu and the PAS must now deliver. The time for excuses is over and the Moldovans' expectations are high. Their patience has long since run out.”

G4Media.ro (RO) /

Intact community more important than geopolitics

The people are tired of the eternal question, "pro-European or pro-Russian?" says editor-in-chief Cristian Pantazi of G4Media.ro:

“Many politicians don't realise that the level of political education in the Republic of Moldova has risen significantly. ... All citizens - regardless of whether they are Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians or Gagauz - want a more honest society, a healthy economy, better schools, functioning hospitals and a reasonable infrastructure. The people have grown weary of the permanent East-West divide that was put forward by the so-called reform parties of the past, but was also used by the Dodon and Voronin duo [the party leaders of the bloc of communists and socialists that came second] in these elections. Now people simply want to live better. And if possible, in peace with all their neighbours.”

Iswestija (RU) /

Leftists are no longer considered social

Izvestia asks why ex-president Dodon and the Left weren't able to mobilise their voters:

“They had every opportunity - and many resources - to do so. The answer is simple and can be found in the field of psychology and information space, or more precisely in how the majority perceives them. For society considers the representatives of the pro-Western forces, i.e. Sandu and her PAS, to be the main protagonists in the fight against corruption and social inequality. It makes no difference that in reality they aren't; the main thing is that that's what people believe. The very people who have traditionally voted for the socialists and communists in Moldova.”