Moldova's pro-Russian Socialist Party gets a victory in the country's parliamentary elections. According to the Moldovan Central Election Commission's (CEC) website, the party came first with 31.15% of the votes. The Euro-optimistic ACUM coalition came second with 26.84% and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party received 23.62% coming a close third.
Many viewed these elections as a touchstone of whether Moldovans want closer ties with the European Union or to remain loyal to Russia – a course that the Socialist Party, as well as its former leader and current President Igor Dodon have taken. And despite the Socialist Party securing a win in the parliamentary elections, it failed to gain an outright majority, which can be seen as a sign that the political moods in the country are changing.
The parliamentary elections did not go without controversy. Firstly, two opposition politicians accused the authorities of poisoning them, then the President Igor Dodon accused Russia of interfering in the elections, and then hundreds of buses from unrecognized Transnistria were spotted making their way to the polling stations in Moldova.
"They had big 'surprises' today: lack of transparency, lack of information. I've been observing elections in Moldova since 1991 but today it was the first that I had seen so many buses coming from Transnistria region. And that's the region we don't have any information about: who lives there and where they get information from," veteran Moldovan journalist Alina Radu told Hromadske in an interview on February 25.
"Nobody knows who organized these hundreds of buses to come and vote. And this is a very big problem."
Radu added that CEC reassured them that such behavior was normal but, in her opinion, this was Dodon's and Plahotniuc's attempt to win more votes for their parties (Dodon used to head the Socialist Party before becoming president).
The journalist criticized Dodon for never meeting the presidents of Moldova's two neighboring countries – Romania and Ukraine and discussing common issues such as economic and cultural cooperation and security.
"This president currently doesn't represent the public of Moldova," she said.
These elections marked the first time a mixed system was used to apportion the 101 seats in the parliament. 50 seats are to be won by lawmakers within existing parties, while the remaining 51 will be allocated to the winners in individual constituencies.
/By Maria Romanenko