The elections in #moldova took place on Sunday between Igor Dodon, the leader of the Socialist Party and Maia Sandu of the Action and Solidarity Party. The main issue that was brought forward in this election is whether Moldova should reconsider their relationship with Russia or look towards the west and the European Union. Unfortunately the results of the election were inconclusive, as Igor Dodon failed to win the majority, with only 48.5 percent of the votes. Maia Sandu gained 38.2 percent. A second round is to be held in two weeks. This is the first election that will be decided by direct vote in twenty years. The previous elections were decided by parliamentary vote and now that process is no longer regarded as constitutional after the March reforms.

Closer relations with Russia can either become a blessing or a curse for Moldova

After seeing the results of the Moldovan presidential election, it is clear that a significant portion of the Moldovan population remains unsure of which political direction to take. Igor Dodon failed to win the majority of votes in the election. Dodon is the leader of the pro-Russian, Socialist Party. The reason as to why a strong relationship with Russia is opposed by many Moldovans is because, ten years ago, Russia put on embargo on Moldovan exports like wine and fruit. Another reason would be, being fully independent from any post-Soviet influence. That embargo, by the way, led to a decline in the country's economy, which ultimately led to a rise in anti-Russian sentiment, in the country. The former Soviet Republic is far from being an economically prosperous nation, in fact it is one of the poorest countries on the continent. Closer relations with Russia could lead to an open border policy, which would allow Moldovan citizens to travel to Russia, for work. These relations could also add to the rising concern that perhaps Moldova can become the next Ukraine. Post-Soviet states are well aware of Putin's political capabilities, when it comes to military aggression. Nicolae Timofti, the current leader of Moldova, made it a priority of keeping Russian troops away from the breakaway region of Transnistria because of the fear of a potential occupation. 

Foreign labor is the force that drives Moldova forward

People in Moldova are often concerned about their future with constant questions about high levels of government corruption, low compensated pensions, for the elderly, low wage jobs and where to migrate for better opportunities? It is estimated that about 45 percent of Moldova's population work abroad and those labor remittances account for approximately 25 percent of the total GDP. Most Moldovan labor workers choose to either migrate to Italy or Russia. Approximately one million Moldovans live in those two nations. This election is really about the dilemma of Moldova for the past twenty five years. Trying to figure out if Russia or European integration is the best option, moving forward.  

Fed up and searching for answers

People have become desperate and in need of answers from the politicians they elect to lead the country. In March of last year, major protests broke out in the capital of Chisinau. One of the issues that was brought to the dismay of government officials, during the protests, was the one billion dollar bank fraud that occurred in 2014. Money was stolen from the three major banks in Moldova and was never recovered. Perhaps this was the reason why many decided not to vote. People can no longer trust those in power. Moldova will likely have a new president after next month's election but the reality of this country's future remains bleak. #presidential elections