Pro-EU Maia Sandu wins presidential elections in Moldova

Tuesday, 17 Nov, 2020

Moldova's former Prime Minister Maia Sandu was projected to win the second round of the country's presidential election, with more than 99 percent of the votes counted late Sunday, according to media reports.

Without the handicap of overt assistance from neighbouring Romania, Maia Sandu is elected Moldova's president.

The country's diaspora voted overwhelmingly for Sandu, with more than 92% of the votes cast overseas in her favor.

The appeal has resonance in one of Europe's poorest countries where as many as 40 percent of Moldova's citizens are estimated to have travelled overseas to work.

"The preliminary results showed that Maia Sandu won".

"I urge everyone to calm, regardless of the election results".

Opinion polls had put the rivals neck-and-neck before the election run-off.

Between the two round of the presidential race, the pro-Russian incumbent, Dodon, called them a "parallel electorate" - remarks that triggered dissatisfaction both at home and in the diaspora.

Sandu, 48, worked for the World Bank for two years after graduating from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010.

Putin on Monday congratulated Sandu and expressed hope that her work as the head of state "contributes to the constructive development of relations" between Russian Federation and Moldova.

He came to power in 2016, beating Sandu in the second round. "I don't want Moldova to be used in geopolitical games".

She made a particular commitment to Mr Dodon's Russophone electorate, saying, in Russian: "You have not lost, I will be winning your trust with concrete deeds".

European Union member Romania and pro-Western Ukraine rushed to congratulate 48-year-old Sandu. In an online conversation with the outgoing president on 28 September, Putin augured him "every success in the next elections, and so we will be able to continue the work begun together for the re-establishment of our interstate relations and their development".

A former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe between Ukraine and EU state Romania, Moldova as always been divided between aspirations to more closely integrate with the European Union and loyalties to former ruler, Moscow.

Sandu has received messages of support from German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and former European Council President Donald Tusk.