Moldova’s president accused of illegal financing

Moldova’s president accused of illegal financing
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 12, 2020

Moldovan politician Renato Usatii, who ranked third in the first ballot of the presidential poll on November 1, has accused President Igor Dodon of having spent more than allowed by the law, furthermore from foreign (Russian) sources, in his re-election campaign. Dodon received $10mn from Russia for his campaign, Usatii claimed.

On the same day, members of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) led by Maia Sandu, who will face Dodon in the November 15 runoff, identified large amounts of electoral newspapers in a state-owned printing house in Chisinau. PAS members implied that the electoral staff was hiding the involvement of the state-owned enterprise, but Dodon’s staff claimed that everything was legal.

Usatii, who received 17% of the votes in the first round, roughly half of the votes received by each of the two front-runners, has already declared his support for Sandu.

Usatii was banned from running in the presidential elections in 2016 exactly because of alleged illegal financing from Russia. He probably does not expect any results from the prosecutors whom he asked to investigate Dodon’s financial resources, and instead is hoping to encourage his voters not to ignore the second ballot of the presidential elections on Sunday.

There are more indications of the use of public resources in Dodon’s electoral campaign in addition to the electoral newspapers found by PAS members. Just before the second round, the government of Moldova, led by Dodon’s Socialist Party, decided to disburse the bonuses related to the year 2019 to employees in the public sector.