Moldovia votes: closer ties with EU or Russia?

Since becoming independent in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova has been divided on its future. In light of this, the public are set to vote on the issue tomorrow.

It’s hoped that this will bring an end to the long-standing debate between pro-Europeans and pro-Russians in the country.

Many citizens want to keep close ties with neighbouring Russia; however, others claim they would like to see Moldova joining the European union, just as Romania has done.

Moldova has close ties with Romania, and has done for many years. The two nations have similar cultures and share a language.

And, with Romania integrating further into the EU, especially since taking over the bloc’s rolling presidency this year, the issue of EU membership has been brought to the forefront of Moldovan politics.

At the moment, the vote is being seen as a three-way race. Voters are choosing between:

  • Te Democratic party, which is currently ruling;
  • The pro-Russian Socialist party of President Igor Dodon, which wants to maintain close ties with Russia;
  • A pro-European alliance party, which wants to copy Romania’s example.

Tomorrow’s vote will be held under a new electoral system. Voters will be voting in constituencies, and there are 101 seats to be won by the parties.

The favourite in the polls is the pro-Russia party, which wants Moldova to choose membership of the Russian Eurasian Economic Union, rather than opting for EU membership – which is what the pro-European alliance are campaigning for.

Currently, the Democratic Party holds a majority in parliament and is leading the government. The party is run by Vlad Plahotniuc, and according to the pro-EU campaigners, has led the country into an “endemic corruption and the violation of human rights.”

However, with voters cynical, and Moldova being one of the poorest nations in Europe, experts have warned that it’s impossible to predict the results of the vote. It’s feared that there could be a split vote, with no overall majority in parliament.

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