Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe; unemployment is high and the country is heavily dependent upon remittances from thousands of Moldovans working abroad. A large part of the Moldovan population is Romanian-speaking, although there are also Russian and Ukrainian minorities. The communists were the ruling party in the former Soviet state from 1998 until 2009. Since 2009 Moldova became a more pro-Western state. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union; the country has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and has signed a far-reaching Association Agreement with the EU in 2014.
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- 3,554,150 million (World Bank 2015 est.)
- Governmental Type:
- Ruling Coalition:
- Socialist-Liberal Coalition: Socialist Party and Now Platform (ACUM)
- Last Elections:
- 24 February 2019 (Parliamentary elections)
- Next Elections:
- 20 october 2019 (Local elections)
- Sister Parties:
- Democratic Party of Moldova
Moldova has experienced some political crises over the past few years, which have caused instability and mistrust of the population in the authorities.
The recent parliamentary elections caused the country to tumble in a political crisis. In the parliamentary elections,held on 24 february, four parties came out on top: the Socialists, followed by the Democratic Party, then the ACUM electoral bloc, and finally the Șor (the party of a convicted oligarch). None had a majority, so what ensued was months of negotiations, with no one really sitting down to the negotiating table until several high-profile officials from the EU, US and Russian Federation visited the Socialist and ACUm leaders.
The ACUM and Socialist formed an unlikely alliance to block the DMP and its powerful tycoon reclaiming power. The DPM reacted ferociously, using its power to stop the coalition from taking office. The DPM used the constitutional court to temporarily strip President Dodon from his power, appointing DPM's Pave Filip as President. Filip issued a decree which dissolved parliament and called for early elections on September the 6th. Lawmakers in parliament declared that Moldova's state and legal institutions have been seized by oligarchs, demanding the resignation of several top officials. After a long stalemate, the PDM resigned from power on 14 June. Vice president of PDM, Vladimir Cebotari, stated that the PDM stepped down in order to avoid escalation. Dodon called the resignation an important victory, urging the constitutional court to accept the decision, warning that he would ask parliament to replace the court's judges if it failed to do so. The USA, EU and Russia all expressed their support for the new government, which is formed by an unlikely alliance. On June 15, prime minister Sandu said that the aim of the new government was to improve ties with the EU but that the country was also open to boosting economic and trade cooperation wiht Russia. The current coalition is an unstable one with lots of conflicting interests, but also a historic one since it was able to successfully challenge the iron grip of the oligarch backed DMP party.
Constitutional referendum 2010
As the political deadlock continued on 5 September 2010, Moldova’s citizens were asked in a referendum whether their president should be elected by popular vote in the future, instead of the current vote by parliament. The turnout of the referendum, however, was not enough for it to be valid. According to the Moldovan Central Election Commission only 30.29 percent eligible voters cast their votes, while 33.33 percent was needed. In accordance with Moldovan regulation, interim President Mihai Ghimpu dissolved the parliament and called for early parliamentary elections on 21 November 2010. Ghimpu blamed the low turnout on the Communist Party, which had called for a boycott of the vote. The pro-Western Alliance for European Integration coalition was hoping for a positive outcome of the referendum. In the run-up to the vote the coalition had campaigned for the change as a way to break the political deadlock that left Moldova without a full-fledged president for 18 months.
In the latest parliamentary elections in 2014, the percentage of women candidates made up 32 percent. 21 women were elected to parliament, which makes up 20.79 percent. Although women are still underrepresented in Moldovan politics, there is a slight increase of representation since the general elections of 2010, when only 19 (18.8 percent) women were elected to parliament. Liberals turned out to be the worst at promoting women, while Communists promoted the most female candidates. In the 2011 local elections, most political parties met a self-imposed 30 percent quota for female candidates for local council seats, although not for the regional council or mayoral level. In the local elections in 2011, 18.5 percent of the elected local mayors were women. In addition, a parliamentary initiative to amend the Election Code to provide for a 30 percent quota for women candidates on party lists was at the stage of public consultations. Despite some progress, more efforts are needed to promote women to key positions.
Across Moldova, women are underrepresented as voters and in leading positions in the government, politics, business and civil society – despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance. Women's representation in Moldovan politics and decision-making is below international benchmarks. Women belonging to certain minority groups appear to face discriminatory practices that affect their free access to public space. The Law on Ensuring Equality, which came in at the beginning of 2013, does not include sexual orientation, gender identity, or state of health as grounds for discrimination. The OSCE Gender Advisor noted that the law preventing domestic violence is poorly implemented in practice. Human trafficking remains a serious problem as well. The country is a major source for women and girls trafficked abroad for the purposes of forced prostitution, mainly to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Romania, Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and the European Union.
Moldova is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. According to its constitution, the parliament is the supreme representative organ and the single legislative authority of the state. The parliament is an unicameral assembly with 101 seats whose members are elected by proportional representation every four years. To enter the Moldovan parliament, independent candidates must obtain 3 percent of the total number of votes. The political parties must pass a 6 percent threshold and the electoral blocs that consist of two parties at least 9 percent. The electoral blocs consisting of more than two political parties must receive at least 12 percent of the votes. The “lost votes” of the parties that did not pass the threshold are subsequently distributed proportionally among those who did.
The president (head of state) is elected by the parliament for a four-year term, and is limited to two terms. To be elected as president at least three fifths of the MPs, or 61 deputies, must vote in favour of the candidate. If the parliament cannot agree about a presidential candidate, the parliament must be dissolved and early elections must be held.
On 24 February 2019 parliamentary elections were held in Moldova. The results were confirmed on 9 March. Voter turnout was low with only 49% of the people turning up to vote. The elections resulted in a victory for the Socialist party, which gained 35 seats of the 101 in total. The Democratic party came second with 30 seats, followed by the ACUM coalition with 26 seats. The Șor Party entered the parliament for the first time, gaining 7 seats in total. The elections resulted in a historical loss for the Liberal and Communist party, both didn't reach the 6 percent threshold thus failing to enter parliament.
|Party||% of the votes||Seats||Constituency||Total Seats|
|Party of Socialists||31.15%||18||25||35|
|Democratic Party of Moldova||23.62%||13||17||30|
The election results caused a political crisis, with both the ACUM and Socialist party not willing to work together with the Democratic party. None had a majority, so what ensued was months of negotiations, with no one really sitting down to the negotiating table. The ACUM and Socialist party differ on many grounds, but after consultation with EU and Russian officials they were able to form a coalition. This coalition was determined to stop the Democratic party, which they allege is backed by oligarchs, from getting into office once again. The DPM reacted ferociously, using its power to stop the coalition from taking office. The DPM used the constitutional court to temporarily strip President Dodon from his power, appointing DPM's Pave Filip as President. Filip issued a decree which dissolved parliament and called for early elections on September the 6th. After a long stalemate, the PDM resigned from power on 14 June. On June 15, prime minister Sandu said that the aim of the new government was to improve ties with the EU but that the country was also open to boosting economic and trade cooperation with Russia.
On 13 November 2016, in the second round of the presidential elections, Igor Dodon was elected new Head of State. The openly pro-Russian Dodon (Socialist Party and former economy minister in the communist government from 2006 to 2009) acquired 52.29 percent of the votes against the pro-European candidate Maia Sandu (Action and Solidarity Party and former World Bank official and education minister from 2012 to 2015), who received 47.71 percent of the votes. Such a result could influence the ongoing EU integration efforts of Moldova. Dodon plans to conduct a referendum on withdrawing from the Association Agreement with the EU and joining the Eurasian Customs Union instead. Good relations with Romania and Ukraine have been claimed to be of interest to Dodon as well, even though he supported the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sandu, in her turn, supported the withdrawal of several thousands of Russian “peacekeeping” troops from the separatist Trans-Dniester region.
Arta Dade, head of the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE ODIHR) claimed the first round of the presidential elections (30 October 2016) were open, transparent and well-organized. Among the disadvantages observers noted widespread abuse of state resources, biased media coverage and a lack of transparency in campaign finances. A number of gaps and ambiguities also remain: collection and verification of candidate support signatures, the financing and conduct of the campaign, effective electoral dispute resolution, enforcement of media provisions, and the conduct of a possible second round of presidential elections.
In the second round (13 November 2016) the OSCE ODIHR mission saw competitiveness and respect for fundamental freedoms. The campaign, featuring televised debates, allowed the two candidates to address voters directly. However, increasingly polarized media coverage, harsh and intolerant rhetoric, and continued instances of abuse of administrative resources detracted from the process. Complaints, mostly related to campaign finances, were not resolved in a timely or consistent manner. Technical preparations for the second round were generally administered in a professional manner and, overall, election day procedures were positively assessed. Despite some efforts to prepare for a high turnout in specific polling stations abroad and for voters from Transdniestria, many citizens were unable to vote because the ballots allocated to these polling stations proved insufficient.
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Moldova’s court approves of referendum to amend constitution as trust in politics hits an all-time low
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