Moldova will today hold the second round of its presidential election. The run-off is between pro-Russia incumbent President Igor Dodon
Moldova will today hold the second round of its presidential election.
The run-off is between pro-Russia incumbent President Igor Dodon and the pro-Europe former prime minister Maia Sandu. Sandu won the first round with 35.77% of the vote to Dodon’s 32.87%, with a turnout of 42.7%. In the last election in 2016, Dodon beat Sandu for the presidency by only 70,000 votes.
Since gaining independence from the USSR, Moldova’s government has alternated between pro-Russia and pro-Europe leadership. However, Moldova has moved much closer to the EU since signing an Association Agreement in 2014, and 70% of its exports go to Europe as opposed to 8% to Russia. In addition, the country is struggling with the economic effects of COVID-19, with economists predicting the economy to contract about 6% this year. Alignment with the bloc could offset some of the harm.
Many Moldovans have stated that economic uncertainty is the biggest issue that they are voting on this year. Expect the run-off to be tightly contested and possibly lead to unrest due to accusations of election fraud in the short-term. However, in the medium-term, regardless of the victor, expect Moldova to continue to pursue closer economic ties to Europe, as younger voters believe Europe can offer more economic opportunity than Russia.
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