Moldova. During the year, Moldova went through a deep
political crisis with two regime changes. Ahead of the
February parliamentary elections was the battle between
Prorean and pro-European forces. President Igor Dodon
accused the government of using the state apparatus to
influence the election in the EU-positive direction, while
Dodon was accused of cooperating with the Russian
CountryAAH, the ruling Democratic Party (PDM) was led by entrepreneur
and media magnate Vladimir Plahotniuc, who was accused of
corruption and oligarchy. His party was challenged by the
Prorian Socialist Party, which Dodon previously led. Maia
Sandus and Andrei Năstase's EU-friendly alliance Nu (Acum)
was in opposition to both.
The Socialist Party became the winner of the election
with 35 seats before PDM, 30 seats. The newly formed Nu
alliance received 26 seats. No party could form a government
on its own, and after months of unsuccessful negotiations,
the Socialist Party and the Nu alliance unexpectedly decided
to rule together. They agreed to maneuver Plahotniuc from
power, proclaimed that "the dictator has fallen" and
promised to "clean up" in Moldova.
Maia Sandu, a former World Bank economist, was appointed
prime minister and approved in parliament in June. The PDM
requested that Parliament's vote be annulled, and the
Constitutional Court declared that Parliament must be
dissolved and fresh elections held.
When President Dodon refused to dissolve parliament, the
court took away his powers as president and appointed
outgoing Prime Minister Pavel Filip as acting president.
This dissolved Parliament and announced new elections.
The new coalition accused the court of being controlled
by PDM leader Plahotniuc. The old government refused to
resign. Moldova had two governments and in the streets of
the capital Chișinău demonstrated thousands of voters.
Both Moscow and several EU countries, including Sweden,
agreed to accept Parliament's decision on government and
wanted to cooperate with Maia Sandu's newly elected
coalition. The Constitutional Court then rescinded its
decision, President Dodon regained his powers and canceled
the decree on new elections. After pressure from Moscow and
others, PDM gave up and went into opposition.
Prime Minister Sandu said the country was finally free
after being drowned in corruption and kidnapped by
oligarchs. She acknowledged that her Nu alliance and the
Socialist Party disagreed, but said that the government was
striving for stronger ties with the EU and strengthened
trade and economic cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Another priority was to bring the oligarch Plahotniuc to
justice for corruption, but the PDM explained that he had
left the country. From Moscow it was announced that
Plahotniuc would be prosecuted in the Russian court for drug
dealing on a large scale.
The Moldovan Constitutional Court was accused of being
under the influence of Plahotniuc in the decisions that
triggered the political crisis. President Dodon and several
invited the judges to resign, which all did.
Prime Minister Sandu visited Brussels and signed
agreements on EU support for the judiciary. President Dodon,
in turn, visited Moscow, where he said he had been promised
a lower price of Russian gas to Moldova.
Maia Sandu also traveled to Washington and was promised
United States support for her government. She sought help
from the FBI and the CIA, among other things, to get to the
bottom of the big bank fraud in Moldova where the equivalent
of a billion dollars disappeared from three banks in 2014.
In November, socialist Ion Ceban was elected mayor of
Chișinău. Ceban had lost the mayor's election in 2018
against the Nu Alliance's Andrei Năstase, but the result was
invalidated in a disputed court ruling. In the re-election,
Ceban now won over Năstase.
It increased the tensions in the coalition. The
socialists revolted in the government in conflict over the
appointment of new national prosecutors against corruption.
Prime Minister Sandu was put to the vote in disbelief, and
President Dodon nominated his adviser, former Finance
Minister Ion Chicu, as new prime minister. Chicu formed a
socialist minority government, which was approved by
Parliament in November with the support of oligarch