Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
Consumer confidence index drops q/q, y/y in 4Q20
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Russia’s grain harvest may fall to 131mn tonnes in 2021 from 133mn tonnes in 2020
ING: Russia balance of payments: supportive of ruble in the near-term, but risks for 2H21 mount.
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Turnover rose on Bosnia's two stock exchanges in 2020 while prices fell
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
ISTANBUL BLOG: Biden must find a way to work with Trump’s strongman pal Erdogan
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Tehran Stock Exchange chief quits amid “Black Monday” fury
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
Maia Sandu, founder and president of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), will become Moldova’s sixth president, after she defeated the pro-Russian candidate and incumbent President Igor Dodon by a wide 15pp margin.
Sandu, a staunch advocate of integration with the EU, received 57% of the votes, after the results in 99.5% of the voting sections were counted.
She achieved victory in the second round despite vocal support for the incumbent from high-ranking Russian politicians — although this was not matched by financial support from Moscow.
The high turnout among Moldova’s large diaspora helped Sandu to victory. Photos and video footage from cities in Western Europe and the US show huge queues outside Moldovan embassies as diaspora Moldovans sought to cast their votes.
However, Sandu didn’t only perform well among the diaspora. She received 51% of the votes cast within Moldova (85% of the total votes) and 93% of the votes from the diaspora (15% of the total votes), which leaves no room for Dodon to attack her for not having won the support of the “real” voters in the country.
Addressing a crowd of supporters outside the PAS headquarters, Sandu thanked everyone who came out to vote, saying: “Today we witnessed an extraordinary mobilisation of Moldovans.
“Despite the crisis, despite the distrust of institutions, despite a dirty campaign, people have gone to vote in very large numbers — here in the country and in the diaspora. People went out to vote because they care. People want their voice to be heard, people want respect, people want power to give them solutions to their problems,” she said.
Speaking of what is to come post-election she said the first task would be to come together as a united society.
“We all want to live well, here at home, to have a state that protects us, to work for people, not for thieves. We need a developed economy that offers opportunities here at home so that our people are not forced to move away from their loved ones. We have this common agenda and we all need to work like this to achieve these goals.”
Work to do
Sandu was minister of education between 2012 and 2015 and served briefly as prime minister in June-November 2019 during a short-lived alliance between the PAS and Dodon’s Socialists forged to oust politician and businessman Vlad Plahotnuic.
Having twice been outmanoeuvred by Dodon — she was the runner up in the 2016 presidential election and forced out of the prime minister position a year ago when Dodon struck a coalition deal with the Democratic Party formerly led by Plahotnuic — she has now succeeded in ousting him from the presidency.
She takes on a country ravaged by coronavirus (COVID-19): in per capita terms Moldova has had one of the worst outbreaks in Europe with more than 80,000 cases reported since the start of the pandemic in the country of just over 4mn people.
Lacking the access to international markets enjoyed by Central European countries, the government has been forced to cut back in response to the extra costs and loss of revenues resulting from the pandemic. Financial stability was achieved at the price of keeping the aid provided to companies and social expenditures at very low levels during the crisis.
The country is still waiting on funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union and Russia. The election of Harvard-educated Sandu, who worked for the World Bank before entering the political fray in Moldova, is likely to speed up the process of securing funds from the IMF and EU.
Romania is another important supporter of its smaller neighbour, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis was quick to congratulate Sandu on her victory.
“Congratulations to @sandumaiamd for winning the presidential elections in #RepublicaMoldova! The citizens of Moldova have chosen to continue the European and democratic path, a path of progress! [Romania] will remain with Moldova in the real efforts of modernisation, democratisation and rapprochement with the EU,” Iohannis wrote.
Words before actions
In the run-up to the election, Dodon had enjoyed some verbal support from top Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin who said in October that he hoped the Moldovan people would appreciate Dodon’s efforts to build relations with Russia, as reported by Tass.
He also questioned whether Moldovan products would receive a welcome on EU markets: “[W]ho buys the Moldovan wine?" Does anyone in France buy Moldovan wine? Who needs it in Europe, where there is excess supply,” the Russian president said, adding that other branches of the Moldovan economy are so “dependent on Russia that they simply cannot exist [without Russia]”.
Other Russian politicians warned of the possibility of unrest on the scale of that seen during Ukraine’s EuroMaidan or the current protests in Belarus, and claimed the US was preparing to interfere in the vote.
“The Americans are preparing a ‘revolutionary’ scenario for Moldova, which in November this year will elect a president. They are not satisfied with the current head of state, Igor Dodon, who maintains constructive relations with the CIS countries, including Russia,” said the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, ahead of the vote.
However, Moldova has not yet received any of a €500mn loan from Russia previously announced by Dodon, and initially blocked by Moldova’s Constitutional Court. In the event, Moscow sent an insultingly small MDL50mn (€2.9mn) grant to support Moldovan farmers between the first and second rounds of the elections.
Sandu claims serious violations
Speaking after the vote, Dodon thanked voters and commented on the high turnout. “I urge everyone to stay calm, regardless of the election results,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
Sandu has criticised the conduct of the election saying that “unfortunately, state institutions did not live up to the challenges posed by this election”. “The Central Election Commission has turned a blind eye to serious and obvious violations of the Election Code. There were several situations abroad where it was clear that there are many willing to go to vote, but insufficient voting sections were opened, so depriving citizens from the exercise of the right to vote. Also, police and prosecution, in some cases, turned a blind eye to organised transportation of voters, even if it is forbidden by law, and did not want to stop voter bribes,” she said.
Change of government ahead
Before the November 15 vote both Sandu and Dodon had talked of the possibility of a snap general election.
Following Sandu’s victory, the minority cabinet of Dodon’s Socialist Party (PSRM) may be overthrown by an ad-hoc coalition as a step towards snap elections to be organised next spring most likely.
While Sandu’s support among voters cannot be challenged after her convincing victory in the second round, the situation in the current parliament partly dilutes her power.
PAS’ natural ally is fellow pro-EU opposition party the PPDA. Ahead of the runoff vote, Sandu also received vocal support from Renato Usatii, a controversial politician with a significant electoral base that is likely to play an important role in the coming developments. Usatii visited the PAS headquarters to greet Sandu immediately after the voting stations closed on November 15. Sandu might also receive support in parliament from the PDM, which has just pulled out from its coalition with the Socialists. But an electoral campaign ignited by a coalition of such contrasting parties will inherently be particularly complicated and the outcome is hard to predict.
Separately, the Socialists may find enough support among lawmakers to remain in office long enough to generate a political crisis. Although Dodon previously spoke out in favour of early elections, he would no doubt prefer to hold the ballot only after a period of crisis and uncertainty that would galvanise his more conservative electorate.
The government in office, even if operating with reduced capacity after a confidence vote in parliament, would remain in the meantime under the control of Dodon — unless he loses power in his party as well.
In some of his messages sent on the Telegram instant messaging platform, Dodon implied imminent and significant developments in parliament. Most likely this means that he is seeking majority support. According to rumours, the outgoing president is trying to replace Prime Minister Ion Chicu at the head of the government and gain marginal support in parliament with the support of MPs loyal to his former rival Plahotniuc and his partner Ilan Shor.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: