Image by Myrabella
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the tiny country of Moldova has been mired in the global conflict between east and west, a microcosm of Moscow’s determination to keep border countries and former spheres of influence under its control, and away from the European Union. Nothing could highlight this battle more vividly than the election today in the capital city, Chisinau, as Moscow-friendly Socialist Party, Ion Ceban faces off Andrei Nastase from the pro-European party Dignity and Truth Platform (DA), a pro-EU candidate.
Ceban won the first round on May 20 with nearly 41 percent of vote, while Nastase obtained just over 32 percent, election authorities said. The snap elections to elect the mayors of Chisinau and Balti for one year were called after the mayor of Chisinau, Dorin Chirtoaca, from the pro-European Liberal Party, and Balti Mayor Renato Usatii, the Our Party founder and leader, resigned to protest against criminal cases against them, which they say are politically motivated, writes RFERL.
Moldova has gone through multiple turbulent crisis’ in the past decade, from the ‘Russian Laundromat’ money laundering scandal, to the theft of one fifth of the value of its banking system that saw multiple leaders imprisoned.
The ‘frozen conflict’ of Transdniester still smolders on the Ukrainian border, although saw progress has been made recently in relaxing travel restrictions for its residents. 2,500 Russian troops are still stationing there guarding a large, Soviet-era ammunition depot.
Moldova’s President Igor Dodan is allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while executive power resides with Prime Minister Pavel Filip.
Russian security services have been reportedly heavily involved in the country’s politics.