COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
EU to begin certifying Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Europe
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
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
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
Download the pdf version
The second round of Moldova’s presidential election on November 15 ended in a landslide victory for Maia Sandu, leader of the centre-right Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), against the incumbent President Igor Dodon. Sandu has plans for radical changes in Moldova starting with an overhaul of the judiciary, but to achieve this, she will need an ally as prime minster – which can only be achieved through snap elections.
Mihai Popsoi, Moldova’s deputy parliament speaker and vice president of PAS, told bne IntelliNews that the party will use “all legal means” to trigger new elections.
The PAS thereby wants to achieve a “clean, representative parliament and a government that would be a reflection of the new parliament to work together with the president to put forward and implement the reform agenda that the people voted for,” Popsoi told bne IntelliNews.
The current parliament was elected in 2019, following the adoption of a controversial new electoral code. Dodon’s Socialist Party (PSRM) holds 37 of the 101 seats, making it the largest faction but far short of a majority. The next largest bloc comprises the PAS and its ally the PPDA. Other parties represented in the parliament are the Democratic Party, Pro Moldova, a newly formed political vehicle that splintered off from the Democratic Party, and the Sor Party led by fugitive businessman Ilan Shor.
“The current parliament is totally discredited, it lacks legitimacy and has major issues with representativeness, as it’s a result of the controversial electoral system adopted in very murky circumstances. The 2019 election was far from free and fair, and since then a large number of MPs have switched parties (many of them more than once),” said Popsoi.
Many of the defections across party lines were from the Democrats or Socialists to Pro Moldova, headed by former parliament speaker Andrian Candu, the godson of Vlad Plahotnuic, once Moldova’s most powerful politician but a fugitive since mid-2019. In one notorious example, Stefan Gatcan, who resigned from the Socialist Party to join Pro Moldova on June 30, claimed he was physically forced to sign his resignation as an MP by his former colleagues from the PSRM.
Analysts agree that for Sandu to achieve what she has been elected to do, she needs a government she can work with.
“Overall, the president is the weakest in the hierarchy after the government and the parliament. However, the president can become a vocal and visible domestic and international actor, within the existing competences,” commented Denis Cenusa, associated expert at Chisinau-based think tank Expert-Grup.
“[E]arly parliamentary elections are now a condition for successful reforms,” said Natalia Otel Belan, regional director for Europe and Eurasia at the Center for International Private Enterprise, adding: “It’s important to note that in Moldova, any positive reform can fail if it is not understood well or does not have support of the majority of population. This is the main reason why president Sandu plans to reorganise the presidential administration to enhance its role as a pillar of democracy through greater transparency of decision making and accountability to citizens.”
Harvard-educated former World Bank economist Sandu entered politics in Moldova, serving as education minister from 2012-2015. She lost to Dodon in the second round of the 2016 presidential election. This was followed by a brief stint as prime minister in June-November 2019, when the PAS forced a temporary alliance with Dodon’s PSRM.
Having secured the presidency – and with hopes of forming a more sympathetic new government – the priority for Sandu will be justice reform, an area that will be critical to fighting corruption in Moldova, and fostering independent institutions. Moldova was an increasingly captive state when Plahotnuic was pre-eminent, and after ousting the businessman and politician, instead of freeing its institutions, Dodon sought to bring them under his own control.
Sandu's party’s website stresses the urgent need for reform in a country where the system created by the current political class "does not reward the honest, those who work and does not help those who need help”. Corruption is rooted at all levels, it adds.
Justice reform will also allow a Sandu presidency to achieve its other objectives such as bringing in more investment and assistance from the EU that in turn will kick-start the economy and increase salaries and pensions.
According to Popsoi, “we are 100% committed to European integration. This is the core of our foreign policy message, part of our political DNA.”
The priority now “is the full implementation of the Association Agreement and hopefully when we have proven to our international partners that we mean business, are serious about benefiting from all opportunities in the Association Agreement and implementing all the commitments, then we can hope for a more advanced integration with the EU … We are confident our partners in Brussels and across the EU will give us the chance to become more integrated on the European market, the digital market, the energy market, and slowly but surely increase our chances of our membership application being approved positively,” he told bne IntelliNews.
That being said, while being committed to European integration, the incoming presidency will take care not to needlessly alienate Russia as previous governments have done.
Attracting investment and achieving better access to European markets are crucial in Moldova, which vies with Ukraine for the title of Europe’s poorest country. The situation worsened with the pandemic this year. Unlike the Central European economies that managed to borrow on international markets to shore their economies up through lockdown, Moldova relies mainly on donor finance. As Chisinau struggled to get funding from the EU, the IMF or Russia this year, the government could only offer a minimal level of support to companies and households whose incomes were hit by the pandemic.
On top of that, Moldova is among the most corrupt countries in Europe, ranked 120th on the latest Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International, which is worse than all the countries in Europe except for Russia and Ukraine.
The country was shaken by the “$1bn bank frauds” a massive scam to siphon money off from three local banks; the bill will ultimately be footed by the Moldovan taxpayer. Numerous politicians and central bank officials were implicated in the scam, and some have already been sentenced, though the ultimate beneficiaries are not known.
Whether Moldova will hold a snap election or not is the “million-dollar question”, said Popsoi. Dodon is understood to be trying to put together a new majority in parliament, possibly with a view to moving from the presidency to the prime minister position. However, Popsoi argued, “It’s very unlikely such a government would be able to do anything meaningful for the voters in terms of reforms and increasing living standards.”
Popsoi acknowledged that of the MPs in the current parliament “of course hardly anyone wants snap elections apart from us”, but says that the presidential election result clearly shows that the “majority of voters want snap elections, they want the parliament to be cleaned up, a parliament that represents the will of the people”.
“The forces in parliament find themselves in a dilemma. They want to remain in parliament, they don’t want snap elections, but they also don’t want to face the anger of the Moldovan people who, according to polls, overwhelmingly want snap elections,” he said.
“We are going to use the overwhelming mandate we received on Sunday to put pressure on parliament to accept the political reality and agree to snap elections. Otherwise there’s going to be a huge disconnect between parliament and the voters. This is a recipe for further instability, further mismanagement and bad governance.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: