Maia Sandu says ‘reign of thieves’ is over after Moldova election

President Maia Sandu appears to have won a huge mandate in Moldova”s parliamentary election on Sunday, securing enough parliamentary seats to ensure the country’s pro-Russian opposition cannot obstruct the broad reformist agenda that won her the presidency in November last year.

On Facebook on Sunday night, Sandu said that she hoped the result would mark “the end of the reign of thieves in Moldova”, as her party looked to have won 47% of the vote with 90% of ballots counted.

It culminates a remarkable political run for Sandu, who beat Moscow-backed incumbent and arch-rival Igor Dodon in a presidential election on November 3 with a pro-European message that appealed to the almost two-thirds of Moldovan citizens living abroad, mostly in the European Union.

Sandu has promised to reverse Dodon’s move away from Europe and towards Russia and bring her country back into the European fold, prioritising better relations with both Brussels and with Romania, with which Moldova shares a border, a cultural and political history, and a language.

Partial results from Moldova’s Electoral Commission had Sandu’s Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) winning 48% of the vote with 94% of ballots counted, which would provide her with an absolute majority in parliament.

Dodon’s Socialist Party, meanwhile, appears to have slumped to just 34%.

“The challenges are great, people need results” and “must feel the benefits of a clean parliament” and “an honest and competent government”, said Sandu in her Facebook post, calling for the “the energy of today’s vote to transform Moldova.”

Both sides said they feared fraud but according to Moldovan media only minor violations of the electoral code were reported. The participation rate rose to just over 48%, a very slight drop compared to previous legislative elections in 2019.

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