Mass demonstrations continue in Moldova over disputed mayoral elections

Mass demonstrations continue in Moldova over disputed mayoral elections

Supporters of the opposition group National Resistance Movement will rally in Chisinau’s Great National Assembly Square today against a June

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Photo: Reuters

Supporters of the opposition group National Resistance Movement will rally in Chisinau’s Great National Assembly Square today against a June 19 court ruling voiding Chisinau’s June 3 mayoral election results on a technicality.

It will be the latest in a wave of mass demonstration against the ruling. Over the past two months, thousands have protested, including a similar rally at the Square on July 1.

The pro-EU winner, Andrei Nastase, campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, winning 52% of the vote. He blames Vlad Plahotniuc, leader of the pro-EU ruling Democratic party and an oligarch suspected of having undue influence in both the media and PM Pavel Filip’s government.

The EU has suspended a $116 million aid package for Moldova in protest of the voided election. While the government has Brussels’ support, corruption scandals have eroded the administration’s credibility.

The protests play into the hands of the pro-Russian Socialists, led by President Igor Dodon. Expect the Socialists’ stock to rise further ahead of November’s parliamentary elections. A recent poll had them at 49% with Nastase’s party in second at 15%. If the Socialists win, both the presidency and parliament will be pro-Russian, which could endanger Moldova’s integration plans into the EU.

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