Moldovans returned to the polls Sunday for the second round of voting in the country's presidential election, facing a choice between the staunchly pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon, and his popular pro-Western challenger, former prime minister Maia Sandu. I congratulated her on her victory in the presidential elections in Moldova.
Ever since gaining independence a year after the Soviet collapse in 1991, Moldova has been divided between those favouring closer relations with Europe and those who prefer stronger links with Moscow.
She was Moldova's education minister from 2012 to 2015 and prime minister from June to November 2019.
She added that "today, you have the power to punish those who robbed you, who reduced you to misery and forced you to leave your home", a clear allusion to her rival who has been targeted with accusations of corruption.
The country has been rocked by multiple political crises and a €840 million bank fraud scheme equivalent to almost 15% of its annual output.
The money was roughly 15 percent of Moldova's annual economic output.
The appeal has resonance in one of Europe's poorest countries where as many as 40 percent of Moldova's citizens are estimated to have travelled overseas to work. Sandu finished ahead in the first round two weeks ago with a late surge in support from voters living overseas, but failed to secure enough votes for outright victory.
Russia's president Vladimir Putin also congratulated the new president of Moldova.
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He claimed 42.2 percent of the vote, while Sandu won 57.7 percent.
In recent weeks, Russian Federation had received many warnings about the Moldovan elections, accusing the United States of meddling and preparing a new "flower revolution".
Russian Federation also stations troops in Transnistria, a region that broke away from Moldovain 1991 after a civil war, but has never been internationally recognized.
In his first speech after the polls closed, Dodon urged everyone to be calm.
"We need the state to work for citizens, not for thieves and corrupt officials", she told reporters as the results were announced.
Igor Dodon (left) and Maia Sandu.
"I say to those who voted for my opponent - you did not lose, I will earn your trust every day". We will build a country in which competent people will take the key posts irrespective of their ethnic origin, said Sandu, who is the leader of the pro-European Party of Action and Solidarity.
Ms Sandu won the first round of voting two weeks ago thanks to a late surge is support from Moldovans living overseas but failed to secure enough votes for an outright victory.
"The people of Moldova have clearly chosen a course that prioritises justice, real fight against corruption and a more just society", tweeted European Council President Charles Michel. It relies heavily on remittances, and closer ties with the European Union are generally seen as more likely than those with Moscow to lead to a long-elusive political stability and economic recovery.