Presidential elections in Republic of Moldova: surprising win for Maia Sandu in the first round

by Romanian Reporter - Monday, November 2, 2020 5:07 PM

Presidential elections in Republic of Moldova: surprising win for Maia Sandu in the first round

November 1st, 2020 was the day of presidential elections in the neighboring state. The opposition candidate Maia Sandu (PAS) won the majority of the votes(36.16%), although the voting polls before Sunday's elections credited the incumbent president, the Socialist Igor Dodon (who candidates as independent, but is supported by PSRM), with the highest chances of winning the first round.

Igon Dodon received 32.61% of the votes and was still in the game of winning the first round after the vote counting from the polling stations from the Republic of Moldova, having a few percent lead over Maia Sandu. Once the votes from diaspora started to pour in, the balance shifted in the favor of the pro-European candidate Sandu, which led to an almost 4% lead after the counting of votes has finished.

The record number of votes from diaspora (146.746 votes, more than double compared to 2016), out of which over 70% voted for Maia Sandu, while only 3.65% went to the incumbent president, might also be the key factor the the upcoming second round results.

Perhaps the major surprise of the elections was the number of votes received by Renato Usatii (16.90%), the mayor of Balti, a controversial and populist candidate, who had the entire campaign an anti-Dodon speech, but who is also a pro-Russian and anti-European politician. It remains to be seen how will his supporters decide to vote in the second round.

The ranking of the other six presidential candidates is as follows:

  • Violeta Ivanov („Șor” Party) - 6,49%
  • Andrei Năstase (Platforma DA) - 3,26%
  • Octavian Țîcu (PUN) - 2,01%
  • Tudor Deliu (PLDM) - 1,37%
  • Dorin Chirtoacă (Unirea) - 1,20%

As none of the candidates received 50%+1 of the votes, the two candidates will participate in the second election round, scheduled on November 15.

The president has limited powers in the domestic government, Moldova being a parliamentary country. The main presidential responsibilities concern the foreign policy of the state. During his presidency Dodon has led a policy of closeness towards East and Kremlin. On the other hand, Maia Sandu is an advocate of the European Union and of closer ties with Moldova's neighbor Romania. 

Therefore, as it was often the case in the history of the Republic of Moldova, the 2020 presidential elections come down to the choice of direction between East and West, European Union and Eurasiatic Union, Romania and Russia. Unlike other elections though, the shift towards Europe seem within reach for the 3.5 million inhabitants of the small country at the eastern border of the European Union.

See more on this topic on Ziarul de Garda

Photo: Maia Sandu / Facebook

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