Voting for the next President of Moldova began with Japan.
Today, Moldovans around the world are choosing the next head of their native republic. The current Moldovan leader Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu, supported by Western elites, are competing for the right to be president.
The second round of elections started in Japan. Mircea Eni, a citizen of Moldova, threw a ballot in a ballot box at a polling station in Tokyo, as the time in Moldova is 7 hours behind Japan.
The Moldovan diaspora in Western countries is especially active in these elections. Queues are observed at the Moldovan consulate in the Romanian city of Iasi, as well as at the polling station in Bucharest.
At polling stations in Germany, queues formed even before they opened. This situation is observed in Frankfurt, Kessel and Berlin, where large queues were formed in the first round as well.
It was the diaspora that allowed Sandu to become the leader of the first round of voting. Inside the country, citizens mostly support Dodon, as shown by numerous sociological studies. Those who live in European countries are committed to Sandu because of her pro-Western position.
The opposition candidate claims that she is ready to cooperate with Russia, her Russophobic position casts doubt on such statements. In order to attract the attention of pro-Russian voters, she spoke Russian for the first time in 5 years, although, as the minister of education, she excluded Russian from the list of compulsory studies in school. Earlier this year, Sandu was prevented from obtaining the loan Moldova needed because it was provided by Russia. Under the guise of far-fetched accusations, she lobbied for the interests of Western creditors, who were also ready to provide the republic with financing on credit.
Dodon, in turn, promotes social initiatives, traditional Orthodox values and a policy of neutrality. In his opinion, Moldova should cooperate with both Russia and Europe. This approach does not suit Western elites. Wanting to destroy Russian-Moldovan cooperation, they stake on Sandu. The Romanian authorities, in particular, are counting on Sandu being allowed to swallow Moldova. The Unionists have already come out openly in support of it.
In Moldova, polling stations opened at 7:00 local time [8:00 Moscow time]. In two hours, according to the Central Election Commission, almost 147 thousand citizens cast their votes, which is 5.25% of the total number of voters. In the first round, 3.61% of voters voted in the first 2 hours. According to statistics, the most active voters are aged 56-70 (42.55%).
Given that the elections are taking place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities have provided citizens with the opportunity to vote in absentia. Those who cannot appear at the polling station for health reasons can request a vote using a portable ballot box. At the moment, over 31 thousand citizens have chosen this voting option.
What to expect
In the first round, Sandu passed Dodon with 36% versus 32%. The gap is about 40 thousand votes, and Sandu’s leadership was provided by citizens living abroad. The diaspora gave the leader of the pro-Western opposition 70% of the vote, according to the Foreign Ministry. At the same time, Moldovans living in Russia and supporting Dodon showed extremely low activity in the first round.
The expert community believes that Sandu’s victory in the second round will not bring anything good to Moldova. She has already managed to show all her inconsistency in the post of prime minister. Sandu provoked a political crisis in order to leave this position as a victim and go back to the opposition. Unfortunately, the diaspora, which will play a decisive role in the second round, does not take this fact into account, because it lives abroad.
“The discrepancy in voting in the second round will be minimal, 2-3% — no more. The general basic split of the Moldovan society remains”, — political analyst Andrei Suzdaltsev said in a comment for RIA Novosti.
Sergei Manastyrly, head of the center for analysis, research and forecasts of the Balkan-center, agrees with him on the split. He stressed that Dodon is not responsible for the polarization of Moldovans. This is the culprit «the previous galaxy of Moldovan politicians, who diligently divided society in order to then manipulate it». At the same time, Manastyrly believes that Sandu remains the favorite of the second round.
«She was nominated by the opposition, and it is easier for her, since she was not responsible for the country», — the analyst said in a comment for Deutsche Welle.
«Now everything depends on the mobilization of the left electorate».
Manastirly is also confident that protests are inevitable, whoever wins. However, if Dodon’s supporters can do little to change, Sandu’s defeat could well lead to a full-scale putsch, as Western elites will be interested in this.
«The speeches of Dodon’s supporters are unlikely to change anything. But employees and heads of foreign embassies can join the protests of the pro-Western opposition. This will bring the situation to a hot phase», — the expert stated.