BERLIN/CHISINAU (Own report) – In its struggle against Russia for influence, Berlin has just suffered a severe setback with the results of Moldova’s presidential runoff elections last Sunday. Official German representatives were relying on the liberal conservative candidate Maia Sandu to win the elections in the Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, with its population of 3.5 million. Sandu sought to maintain the country’s pro-EU orientation. However, the Socialist Igor Dodon won the elections. He not only has recognized Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, he also wants to terminate Moldova’s EU association. Dodon’s victory is another sign that Germany and the EU are loosing influence in that country. Most recently, proponents of the country’s neutrality formed the government and began putting a distance between their country and NATO. Now even closer ties between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union seem conceivable.
A Landmark Election
In last Sunday’s presidential runoff elections, Chairman of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon, prevailed over the liberal conservative candidate Maia Sandu, head of the small Action and Solidarity Party (PAS). In the first round of elections, Dodon won 47.9 percent, Sandu 38.7 percent and Dmitry Chubashenko of the pro-Russian Partidul Nostru (Our Party) placed third, with just 6.0 percent. In the runoff election, Dodon received 52 percent of the votes and Sandu around 48 percent. On October 30, just before the first round, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) met with Maia Sandu – signaling that the leader of PAS can count on Berlin’s support. Sandu can also count on the clear political backing from Brussels and Bucharest, according to the government financed Deutsche Welle. Dodon, on the other hand, criticizes that the EU had tacitly accepted its Moldovan allies’ massive corruption for geopolitical reasons. In fact, those forces, mainly orienting themselves on Brussels, are heavily involved in scandals. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
Against EU and NATO
Dodon, the winner of the elections, represents a foreign policy that is diametrically opposed to German interests in the region. Dodon’s recognition of Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, has led to disputes with neighboring Ukraine following his victory in the first round of the presidential elections. In addition, Dodon’s party has introduced a plan for the federalization of the Republic of Moldova, which potentially could provide a solution for the long-running Transnistria conflict. The PSRM is also committed to terminating Moldova’s association with the EU and instead joining the Eurasian Economic Union. Dodon also intends to expel the NATO troops regularly holding maneuvers in the Republic of Moldova. Dodon’s election therefore signifies a serious setback to Germany’s policy to win influence in Southeast Europe.