Today, the Great National Assembly Square in Chisinau is expecting up to 50,000 demonstrators supporting Moldova’s nationalist movement in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the Unification of Bessarabia and Romania.
Moldovans, split on whether to lean towards the EU or Russia in foreign policy, are generally united over disillusionment with poor governance. In 2015, both pro-Western and pro-Russian protestors rioted over a money laundering scandal, instigating a government reformation and directly electing Igor Dohon as president. Since then, the Socialist president has been elusive in his support for Russia and suspended multiple times from his presidential powers by the pro-Europe Democratic Party, which dominates parliament.
Amidst celebrations, expect demonstrators to demand reforms in line with the Council of Europe’s Action Plan for Moldova for 2020, namely fighting corruption and promoting more transparent judiciary and electoral systems. With parliamentary elections scheduled for November, watch for whether an evenly divided and civically active Moldovan electorate balances shared demands for internal reform of an unofficial oligarchy with conflicting geopolitical preferences.
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Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.