KISINAU, Moldova (AP) – Maya Sandu, a former World Bank economist who supports closer ties with the European Union, won Moldova’s presidential run-off, defeating the pro-Russian president firmly, according to preliminary results released Monday.
Sandu took more than 57% of the vote, leaving the current Igor Dodon behind with more than 15 points, according to preliminary data from the Central Election Commission (CEC), which counted nearly 100% of the vote.
Sunday’s election was seen as a referendum on two different views on the future of the small Eastern European nation closed between Ukraine and Romania. Sandu and Dodon, whom Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen as his preferred candidate, are rivals as he narrowly defeated her in the 201
“People voted in very large numbers … they voted because they care, because they want their voice to be heard,” said Sandu, who vowed to secure more financial support from the EU during the campaign, late Sunday after it became apparent that led. “People want the government to offer solutions to their problems.”
On Monday, Dodon admitted after the results were published and congratulated Sandu.
“I call for calm and peace, absolutely no disturbances or protests, we must not allow any destabilization of the country,” he said.
The current pro-Russian government controls only 51 of the 101 seats in parliament. The new president could dissolve parliament if the prime minister resigns and there are two failed attempts to find a successor.
On Monday, Putin congratulated Sandu and expressed hope that her work as head of state “contributes to the constructive development of relations between Russia and Moldova.”
Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow respected the “choice of the Moldovan people” and hoped to establish a “working relationship” with the new president.
“We know that Maya Sandu said that she would work in the interest of the Moldovan people and we are convinced that building good and close relations, cooperation in all areas with our country, Russia, is in the interest of the Moldovan people,” Peskov told reporters. .
Since gaining independence a year after the Soviet collapse in 1991, Moldova has been divided between those who prefer closer relations with Europe and those who prefer stronger ties with Moscow.
Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with nearly 1.2 million of its people estimated to live abroad. Money reliance is relied on to a large extent, and closer ties with the EU are generally considered more likely than those with Moscow to lead to long-lasting political stability and economic recovery.
Yet in these elections, these elections may be overshadowed by the heavy social and economic sacrifices inflicted on Moldova by the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the country of 3.5 million people has collected nearly 89,000 cases of viruses and more than 2,000 deaths. On Saturday, it reported a record 1,411 new daily infections.
In 2014, while ruled by a pro-European coalition, Moldova signed an agreement on closer political and economic ties with the EU, now a bloc of 27 countries. Since then, however, Brussels has become increasingly critical of Moldova’s reform progress.