Moldovan elections head for run-off
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The challenger Maja Sandu won 36.1%; the outgoing president Igor Dodon only 32.61%. The run-off will be held on Sunday 15 November. For now, no Belarusian scenario. Fears of a new Twitter revolution. Former KGB general Vladimir Dzhabarov denounces "attempts to organize a revolution in Moldova".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - In the Moldovan elections on November 1, the challenger Maja Sandu (ex-premier in 2019) with 36.16% of the votes managed to overtake the outgoing president Igor Dodon, who came in with 32.61%. The result thus overturns the result of four years ago, when Dodon had exceeded 48% in the first round, and had won in the second round, again against Sandu, with 52%. The new ballot will take place on Sunday 15 November.

On the eve of the presidential elections, in the border republic between Russia and Romania everyone expected a new “flower revolution”, along the lines of the Belarusian scenario. Maja Sandu continually repeated the warning of the possible falsification of the results by Dodon, in imitation of her friend Lukashenko, while from the presidential camp they insisted on American support for the "Action and Solidarity" party of the ex-premier. Instead everything ran smoothly, also because Dodon did not have the courage to fully imitate the Belarusian batka, announcing unlikely sensational victories.

Fears also depend on the memories of the 2009 Moldovan revolution, called the Twitter Revolution, due to the very intense use of the new social network by the participants, which later became commonplace across the globe, as evidenced by the uncertainties surrounding the American vote in recent days. The popular uprising of April 2009 was also called the "brick revolution": demonstrators threw bricks, cobblestones and stones of all kinds at the presidential palace.

However, there is no lack of fears for new possible conflicts, in view of the second round of elections. These concerns were expressed by one of the vice-presidents of the Council of the Russian Federation, former KGB general Vladimir Dzhabarov.

 In an interview with Parlamentskaya Gazeta, he talks about "information on attempts to organize a revolution in Moldova" gathered by the Russian intelligence services. According to Dzhabarov, "the victory of the pro-European candidate in the second round could lead to an internal conflict, which would bring the country to the brink of destruction".

It must be said that Dodon was unable to mobilize his voters even in his beloved Russia, where over 300,000 Moldovans live, but just over 5,000 of Moldovans in the United States went to vote at the 17 seats open for them in Russia (almost 6 thousand), Romania (about 13 thousand) and Great Britain (almost 17 thousand). In Italy, where more than 130,000 Moldovans live, 46,442 people voted, most of them for Sandu. In Russia Dodon even arrived after the candidate Renato Usatij, mayor of the Moldovan city of Beltsa, who is wanted in Russia for laundering large sums of money.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe, the poorest of the post-Soviet countries. The budget of Moldovan families largely depends on gastarbeiters, migrant workers in Western European countries, who make up over 10% of the entire Moldovan population. Since the end of the USSR, the country’s main political issue has been the possible reunion with Romania, the ethnically closest country, but despite the various political initiatives (especially the Moldovan National Front), this unification never took place; indeed, after the riots of 2009, the borders between Moldova and Romania have become difficult for the citizens of the two countries to cross.

The internal clash between the different political factions, and the various orientations of the population, has been smouldering in recent years with various controversial episodes, and the current presidential elections are presented as a real final showdown.