Pro-European candidate and incumbent mayor of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Dorin Chirtoaca has won the mayoral post for the third time with 53.54 percent of the vote beating his rival pro-Russian Zinaida Greceanai who took 46.46 percent.
Although 348 seats were decided in the first round of municipal elections, 458 towns participated in the second round of elections on Sunday.
Before the runoff elections, Chirtoaca had won 37 percent vote rate, and Greceanai trailed him with 36 percent of the vote.
Following the result Chirtoaca said that "I feel like a newborn. Being elected for a third time ... means trust, joy and gratitude."
“We are now to join efforts with the pro-European parties and will see what we can borrow from the other contenders’ platforms for the mayoralty,” Chirtoaca added.
“We are now to meet the expectations of the people who put their trust in us and empowered us to administer for another four years.”
The leader of the Democratic Party (PDM) Marian Lupu said that “according to the preliminary results, the PDM won another 140 posts of mayor in the second round of elections, besides the 147 won in the first round. With such a result, we became the main pro-European force at local level.”
“No other party achieved such a result. Following both of the rounds of voting in 2011, the PDM won the mayoral elections in 219 settlements. This year we won the elections in 287 settlements, which is a rise of over 30%. Each third mayor of Moldova is a member of the PDM. Most of the Democratic mayors were reelected to their posts. This shows that the PDM convinced the people by accomplishments and our wish is to continue to do good things. The PDM’s success is due to the effort made by its team,” Lupu added.
“The pro-European parties won over 50% of the votes for the local councils and can thus form alliances and keep the country’s European course. The pro-European parties won the mayoral elections in a majority of settlements. Despite the difficulties, the people put great hope in the country’s European course. We are now to form a stable Government that will continue to do reforms.”
Although several pro-European candidates won mayoral posts in run-off elections, pro-Russian businessman Renato Usatii managed to win the mayorship of the important cities of Balti and Orhei.
Moldova’s elections were seen as a stark choice for Moldovans, who have been torn by conflicting loyalties to European integration and strong relations with Russia.
Opposition Socialists’ Party rejects election results
The leader of the Socialists’ Party Igor Dodon has rejected the results, saying his party identified “irregularities” in the ballots.
“[Pro-Europeans] were celebrating too soon. We don't recognize the result of the elections. There were too many irregularities,” Dodon added.
Towards forming a new Moldovan government
Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti has named pro-European foreign minister Natalia Gherman as interim prime minister following the resignation of former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici and his government last week.
Moldova’s government announced its resignation on June 16, after Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici resigned. Gaburici had been questioned after he accused Moldova’s state prosecutor of neglect over an investigation into the disappearance of $1 billion from three major banks - Unibank, Banca Sociala and Banca de Economii.
Interim Prime Minister Gherman has to form a new government by Sept. 12. The negotiation process will start at the end of June.
PDM leader Marian Lupu said that negotiations for the formation of a new government will take place on June 29, immediately after the election results are released.
Lupu said PDM will form a “majority parliamentary coalition as soon as possible,” and added that “competition ended together with the local elections and the country’s interests should now prevail over the party interests. This is what we count on.”
Moldova, a former Soviet republic home to 3.5 million people, lies between Ukraine and Romania and is one of Europe’s poorest countries.