One of the leading pro-Western candidates in this month’s presidential election in Moldova has warned of “risks of massive fraud” in the vote, which has further divided the tiny post-Soviet state’s already fractious political scene. Speaking to RFE/RL on October 19 during a visit to Brussels for meetings with officials from the European Union, Action and Solidarity candidate and former Education Minister Maia Sandu said she was “here to warn the international partners of Moldova about the risks of massive fraud of the election and to ask them to help.” The presidential vote is Moldova’s first by direct election since 1996, a change whose legitimacy is being challenged by the Communist Party and other opposition elements.
“We do want to have democratic elections. We do deserve to have democratic elections,” Sandu told RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent. “Unfortunately we can’t count on the Moldova state institutions these days because they are not free and independent, and that is why we count so much [on] support from EU institutions.”
Moldova signed and began provisionally applying an Association Agreement with the European Union in 2014, opening up visa-free travel to the bloc but providing no guarantees that Chisinau would follow through with reforms or clean up its rampant corruption.
Sandu and others have suggested that inaccurate voter lists and pressure on state employees could mar the results of the looming vote.