"The first round of Moldova's presidential election on October 30, 2016, occurred at a challenging time for this small state located between Romania and Ukraine. The Russian-leaning Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon won 48% of the vote against his leading competitor, former Minister of Education (and former World Bank economist) Maia Sandu, who received 39%. The election goes to a second round on November 13. This is the first time since 1996 that Moldova's president is being elected by a popular vote. Although the new president will have limited powers in the country's largely parliamentary system, he or she could have an opportunity to steer the domestic and foreign policy developments of long-troubled Moldova in a new direction, thanks to the democratic legitimacy and symbolic power of the newly elected office. […] Congress has been supportive of Moldova's Western trajectory. U.S. foreign assistance to Moldova has exceeded $1.4 billion since 1992. In 2014, Congress welcomed the establishment of a U.S.-Moldovan Strategic Dialogue, encouraged increased assistance, and called for greater security and intelligence cooperation. […] Given Moldova's crisis of governance and the rise of a pro-Russian presidential candidate, some may wonder about the future of Moldova's pro-Western agenda. Recent developments suggest that Moldova's engagement with the West is still fragile. After the second round of Moldova's presidential election, shoring up the country's determination and ability to stay the course may require some new thinking."
|Report Number:||CRS Insight, IN10602|
|Publisher:||Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service|
|Retrieved From:||Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html|