Moldova’s local elections this weekend are a barometer of its European orientation
Moldovans will vote on November 5 for their mayors and City Councils, in a vote that will also show whether the window of opportunity for European integration will close or not after the 2025 general elections.
President Maia Sandu’s Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) is the only political force in Moldova openly advocating for the country’s EU membership and failure to get at least a relative majority in the City Councils would deal a twofold blow to its fast-track accession ambitions.
Firstly, it would predict weaker than expected support for the pro-EU integration and secondly, mayors opposed to EU integration would make a negative contribution ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2025.
As the local elections approach, President Sandu and fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, who is backing her rivals, are sparing no effort to support their candidates.
Sandu has accused Russia of buying Moldovan voters — but only voters for sale can be bought.
She also claims that Russia pumped millions of dollars to support its candidates, and the authorities have recently closed down pro-Russian, or only Russian-language media.
The governor of Gagauzia Evghenia Gutul, backed by Shor, has promised cheap natural gas and is already distributing supplementary financial stipends to pensioners out of Shor’s money.
Meanwhile, the Socialists and Shor accuse the pro-EU authorities of autocracy.
Since coming to power, Sandu and the PAS took a number of at least ambiguous steps particularly when it comes to justice reform. Still, they took more steps in the direction of EU integration at a time when this matters a lot in the complex regional context. They enjoy the EU’s full support for preventing backsliding on democracy, but need to improve their credibility in front of their own electorate.
Polls show the pro-EU authorities’ steps in the reform of justice and public administration failed to win over undecided voters over the last year.
Former Socialist (pro-Russian) incumbent mayor of the capital city Chisinau Ion Ceban, who leads his own party, MAN, is expected to get another term, as he is backed by 52% of the voters — three times more compared to the support enjoyed by the pro-EU candidate Lilian Carp of the PAS.
The pro-EU parties have never controlled the second-largest city in the country, Balti, and Shor’s political vehicle remains the main rival to the independent incumbent mayor of the city.
The latest poll by iData confirmed a complicated big picture: the pro-EU PAS leads in the electorate’s preferences, which would make it the biggest party with 44 mandates in the 101-seat parliament in a parliamentary election, but it would lose its majority. The PAS has no potential political ally among the other relevant parties likely to have lawmakers.
On the other hand, the Socialists (23 seats) and Shor’s political vehicle (22 seats) will need the support of smaller parties to form a ruling majority. Such a scenario is not entirely unlikely, as one of the smaller parties is formed by Ion Chicu, a former adviser to Socialist leader Igor Dodon.
According to the same poll, Sandu leads in voters’ preferences for the presidential elections. She is highly likely to get a second mandate next year, but its powers would be harshly limited in the absence of a pro-EU ruling majority after 2025.
MPs set off flares and burnt papers inside the Albanian parliament, as part of a series of of acts of civil disobedience by opposition MPs.
Turkey’s 5-year CDS remain below the 400-level. The yield on the government’s 10-year eurobonds remains below the 9%-level. The USD/TRY rate is still heading north.
Rejection of Ukrainian accession would deal a significant blow to the country's morale amidst the ongoing war with Russia, particularly given the hold-up in the US Congress to further US aid.
Ex-president releases shocking memoir detailing hidden life that led to a second family with two sons. Rumours had swirled for years.
The Ministry of Finance projects a public deficit of 6.5% of GDP this year and 6% of GDP next year.
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