Her party “Action and Solidarity” (PAS, center-right) received almost 47 percent of the vote, and “The Pro-Russian Bloc of Socialists and Communists (BESC) of former pro-Russian President Igor Dodon, has 31 percent, was announced after counting almost 70 percent of ballots .
After his big victory in the presidential elections in November 2020 against Igor Dodon, Sanda (49) will be able to pursue his policy focused on the fight against corruption and approaching the European Union, while the political scene has been blocked so far.
“I voted for us to put our country in order, to get rid of those who plundered it for so many years,” the president told reporters as she left the polling station in the capital, Chisinau, where she was greeted with applause.
After the polls closed, Dodon said that he was convinced of his party’s “very good result”. “We will decide whether to challenge the election result,” he warned, Moldovan media reported.
Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, squeezed between Ukraine and Romania, has been unstable since declaring independence in 1991, with political crises and a “frozen conflict” in Transnistria, a Moscow-backed separatist territory over which Moldova has no control.
Its 2.6 million inhabitants are historically divided into those who want close relations with Russia and those who look to the EU.
But Moldovans are unanimous in their statement that they are tired of the corruption scandal, the most notorious of which in 2015 referred to the disappearance of one billion dollars, which is equivalent to 15% of GDP from the safes of three banks.
The diaspora, which represents more than a third of the voters in that country affected by the very large emigration, could significantly increase the result of President Sandu’s party, which she largely supported in the presidential elections.
Twenty parties and two coalitions were in the race to split 101 seats in parliament.
Moldovan media, referring to the police, reported on 242 “possible violations of election rules”, mostly insignificant.
Sandu, a former World Bank economist, is for many voters the first political figure to come to power “by preserving the reputation of an honest person” and by being and remaining a “symbol of change,” explains political scientist Alexei Tulbure.
Since her inauguration in December, however, she has not been able to form a government due to the lack of an agreement with the parliament controlled by Igor Dodon. She finally managed to dissolve the assembly in April.
“Even with the parliamentary majority, it will not be easy (for Sanda) to implement his grandiose plans for a profound change of the entire country,” warns analyst Viktor Cobanu. “She needs partners, and there will be sharp opposition,” he added.
Sunday’s election should in any case reduce Russia’s “relative weight”, observers say.
“The parliamentary majority will be pro-European, and Russian influence will weaken,” predicts political scientist from Kiev, Sergiy Gerasimchuk.
Maja Sandu has already angered the Kremlin by saying that she wants to replace the Russian garrison based in Transnistria with observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).