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 Federation.
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.
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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 The Constitutional Court then rescinded its decision, President Dodon regained his powers and canceled the decree on new elections.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 Plahotniuc’s PDM.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Moldova in 2019 was 4,043,152, ranking number 131 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.210% yearly, and the population density was 123.0826 people per km2.