Moldova: early legislative elections to resume anti-corruption reforms



► What is the stake of the election?

Former economist at the World Bank and the bearer of a vast anti-corruption program, Maia Sandu, 49, won a big victory in November 2020 to become president of Moldova, a small country in central Europe between Ukraine and Romania. But his predecessor and rival during the presidential election Igor Dodon continued to control parliament and strongly opposed his reform program. After several months of political crisis, the Moldovan Constitutional Court finally authorized the President in April to dissolve Parliament, paving the way for early parliamentary elections on Sunday 11 July.

→ PORTRAIT. Maia Sandu, a president against corruption in Moldova

“The question on everyone’s lips is whether the president will have a majority that will allow her to implement her reform plan” explains Dionis Cenusa, political scientist and doctoral student at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. In one of the poorest countries in Europe, exhausted by a decade of corruption scandals and political crisis, there is also hope for stabilization synonymous with continued rapprochement with the European Union. In June, Brussels announced a 600 million euro support plan for Moldova, conditional on the implementation of anti-corruption reforms that Maia Sandu calls for.

► Which parties are in the running?

If more than twenty parties have embarked on the race, only two are, according to polls, certain to pass the 5% mark to enter Parliament. President Maia Sandu’s Action and Solidarity Party is credited with 33% to 37% of voting intentions and is pushing for the country’s recovery through a series of reforms.

Pro-European, Maia Sandu at the same time assured that she wanted a “True balance” in its foreign policy as well as a “Pragmatic dialogue with all countries, including Romania, Ukraine, European countries, Russia and the United States”. His party should also be able to count on the support of the very important Moldovan diaspora.

Closer to Moscow, the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists of former President Igor Dodon could win between 21% and 27% of the vote and prevent the president from obtaining a majority.

► What are the major reforms pushed by the president?

“The fundamental reform wanted by the president is that of the judicial system; it would consist in particular in facilitating the dismissal of corrupt judges as well as the seizure of assets and income resulting from corruption ”, Dionis Cenusa analysis. Another aspect of the reform, to condition the hiring of new judges to a verification of their probity by a commission, a measure sometimes criticized as an attack on the independence of the judiciary. Reform has so far been stuck in a parliament fiercely hostile to the new president and in a country still undermined by oligarchy.

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