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Polling stations in Moldova opened on Sunday morning, and voters are eager to choose a new parliament after the new President Maya Sandou disbanded the previous parliament to support her opposition to pro-Russian forces.

Voting will begin shortly after 7 am (04:00 GMT) on Sunday and will end at 9 pm, and preliminary results are expected to be announced in a few hours.

Sandu, who wanted Moldova to join the European Union, defeated the current Kremlin-backed Igor Dodon in November, promising to fight corruption in one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Moldova, sandwiched between Ukraine and EU member Romania, has long been at odds with Brussels in establishing closer relations or maintaining Soviet-era relations with Moscow.

As lawmakers loyal to Doton blocked Sandu’s reform pledge, the former World Bank economist dissolved the parliament in April and arranged for a quick vote.

“This Sunday we must complete what we started and take the second step. This is an opportunity for each of us to choose an honest and responsible leadership,” Sandu said in a statement before the vote.

“It’s time to clean up the country of clans, corrupt officials and manipulators,” Sandu said. He hopes to reform the judicial system, increase wages and pensions, and amend the constitution to make it easier to punish corruption.

These slogans have resonated with many Moldovans who have witnessed the impact of their country’s political crisis in recent years, including a $1 billion bank fraud scheme, equivalent to nearly 15% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). %.

“She really wants to make this country better,” Natalia Cadabnuic, a young resident of Chisinau, told AFP.

Sandu, who briefly served as prime minister, has become a “symbol of change” for many Moldovans, said the political analyst and former ambassador to the United Nations Alexei Tulbre.

He added that Moldovans were tired of corrupt politicians, and he said Sandu was the first to reach the top while “maintaining a reputation for honesty”.

Russia’s influence is threatened

Twenty political parties and two electoral groups are participating in Sunday’s elections. They must pass the 5% and 7% vote thresholds respectively to obtain seats in the unicameral parliament.

101 MPs will be elected for a four-year term.

Ilan Shor’s political party is a businessman convicted of fraud and money laundering in connection with the $1 billion bank scandal, and one of more than 20 political parties and groups (including independents) that participated in the campaign. Shore denied wrongdoing.

Entering the voting stage, Sandu’s center-right Action and Solidarity (PAS) party is in a leading position.

The latest public opinion polls show that the PAS has 35% to 37% of the votes against 21-27% of its rivals in the alliance of socialists and communists led by Doton and former President Vladimir Voronin. .

These figures only include voters who live in this country of 2.6 million people.

Analysts say that diasporas account for more than one-third of Moldova’s qualified voters and have supported Sandu during the presidential election. They may be the key to the outcome.

It is estimated that the diaspora can bring another 10-15 percentage points to the Sandu Party.

Analysts say that this election may be a blow to Russia, and Russia wants Moldova to stay within its sphere of influence.

“Most of them will be pro-European, and Russia’s influence will diminish,” said Sergei Gerasimchuk, an expert on political issues in Moldova.

Sandu’s proposal to withdraw the Russian military garrison stationed along the banks of the Transnistria, which angered the Kremlin, a pro-Russian separatist country that straddles the eastern border between Russia and Ukraine.

The pro-Russian Doton on Friday accused the authorities of preparing to “provoke” and urged his supporters to prepare to protest in order to “defend” the victory of his group.



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