Some 250,000 voters in Chişinău, accounting for approximately 40% of the citizens with the right to vote, went to the polls in Sunday’s run-off to elect their mayor
Representative of the pro-European opposition in the Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet country with a predominantly Romanian speaking population) Andrei Năstase, on Sunday won the snap elections for the City Hall of Chişinău. Backed by several political parties, the leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform (PPDA, a right-of-centre non-parliamentary party of pro-European orientation) got over 52% of the ballots cast in the second round of the elections to defeat the Socialists’ candidate (the pro-Russian left wing), Ion Ceban.
Andrei Năstase, 42, a lawyer by profession, stepped into the spotlight in 2015, when he was one of the leaders of large-scale anti corruption protests after the disappearance of one billion US dollars from the Moldovan banking system. Andrei Năstase is also known for his harsh criticism of the businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party. In a press conference given jointly with his campaign staffers and representatives of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) led by Maia Sandu and of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) – two of the parties who backed him in the election campaign - Năstase hailed the importance of their support in securing his victory and underlined the need for further cooperation, particularly ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of the year.
Andrei Năstase also made public his intention to make a thorough assessment of the situation at the City Hall prior to setting his priorities. The early elections for the City Hall of Chişinău were held after the former mayor, Liberal Dorin Chirtoacă, resigned in February, following a corruption case which -he claimed - had been orchestrated by the power. Now, Dorin Chirtoacă has congratulated Andrei Năstase and urged him to set up a common bloc of the right wing forces in the run up to the parliamentary elections.
In his turn, Socialist Ion Ceban has also congratulated Andrei Năstase on his win, but he termed the voting as political and geo-political. Actually, many pundits in Chişinău agree people voted based on geo-political criteria, just like every time they do in the Republic of Moldova. In Bucharest, the conservative and Liberal right wing has hailed Andrei Năstase’s victory, which they described as remarkable, saying that reason has won over anything else and adding that now the fight has started for the parliamentary elections due in autumn, when the real battle is waged. The new mayor will have a one-year term in office, until the local elections of 2019.