Maia Sandu is the new president of Moldova: what's next?
As a result of the second round of elections, Maia Sandu has been elected the new president of Moldova. Her rival, the incumbent President Igor Dodon, has already congratulated her on her victory, but warned her that he would ‘defend the votes of his voters.’ What does this mean for the country?
Who is Maia Sandu
The new President of Moldova is 46 years old. She is the first woman in the country to hold this post.
Sandu is a native of the village of Risipeni. She received two higher educations in Moldova, and also graduated from Harvard University.
She served as the Minister of Education and Acting Prime Minister. In 2016, she lost the presidential election to Igor Dodon.
Maia Sandu is the leader of the Action and Solidarity Party, which advocates the integration of Moldova into Europe. Its main voters are the youth, people with higher education and people living in urban areas
Who is Igor Dodon
The now former President Igor Dodon has held this post since 2016. His main platform was to deepen the strategic partnership with Russia.
The majority of people who vote for Dodon and his Socialist Party live in rural areas, as well as in Transnistria and Gagauzia, where the population is opposed to a unified Moldovan state and integration into Europe.
Dodon emphasizes his liking for Russian President Vladimir Putin every chance he gets. He is one of the few foreign guests in recent years in Moscow on May 9 – the date on which Russia celebrates Victory Day.
What awaits Moldova?
Moldova is a parliamentary republic, where the president does not have significant powers.
The majority in parliament belongs to the Socialist Party, headed by Igor Dodon. Now this will be the major battlefield where he will resist Maia Sandu’s reforms.
Therefore, the first and main task of the new president is to try and hold early parliamentary elections.
The scenario with early parliamentary elections is quite realistic, Moldovan political scientist Stella Jantuan believes:
“Whatever coalition Dodon concocts in parliament, he will depend on them. There will be a coalition of scraps, and while parties follow some logic, scraps will not. They will not be able to form a majority that sticks to a common goal. Any construction in such a parliament is not long-term. Even if the majority MPs are bound by fear of early parliamentary elections, these elections will still take place.”