How the Moldovan opposition is searching for a unifying presidential candidate

Launching of Maia Sandu's election campaign, 2020. Photo by Gikü via Wikipedia. Public domain.

As the presidential elections in Moldova draw closer, discussions about a unifying opposition candidate are increasing on the Moldovan political scene. Parties are forming blocs, holding meetings, and making proposals, trying to come to an agreement “against Sandu,” the current president of Moldova. NewsMaker published an article on how the diverse opposition is searching for a unified candidate and the likelihood of finding and nominating one. Global Voices translated it, edited it for clarity and republished it with permission from NewsMaker

Journalist Natalia Morar published a photo on May 19, 2024 from a meeting of opposition politicians that she organized. Attendees included former president of Moldova and leader of the Socialists, Igor Dodon; former prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPM), Vlad Filat; former prime minister and leader of the Party for Development and Consolidation of Moldova (PDCM), Ion Chicu; former head of Gagauzia, Irina Vlah; former minister of foreign affairs and European integration, Tudor Ulianovschi; and member of parliament, Gaik Vartanyan, representing the party of Chișinău Mayor Ion Ceban, the National Alternative Movement (MAN).

Morar noted that dialogue within the opposition exists and is necessary. “I hope that at the next meeting there will be other participants. We decided that we need to continue discussions,” she wrote after the meeting.

Details of this meeting are scarce in the public domain. Dodon stated that they discussed a “unified strategy for the upcoming October 20 Presidential Elections and the Referendum.” According to Dodon, the Socialists are ready to support a unified opposition candidate, but this person must be apolitical. Dodon suggested former Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo as a potential candidate, whom the Socialists are willing to support. Stoianoglo has not commented on these statements and has not shown any desire to run. He did not respond to NewsMaker's calls and messages.

If they cannot nominate a unified candidate, Dodon proposed that all interested opposition members put forward their candidacies but with the condition of not competing with each other and supporting Sandu's opponent in the second round.

Vlad Filat confirmed on TVC21 that the opposition is discussing nominating a unified candidate, though these discussions have been prolonged. The LDPM leader is not confident that the opposition will reach an agreement and anticipates many candidates in the election.

Tudor Ulianovschi, who has already announced his intention to run for president, said on TV8 that there were no significant discussions about a unified candidate at the meeting. According to NewsMaker, the meeting participants have not yet reached the topic of a unified candidate and, if they did, it was only in broad terms without discussing specific candidates.

Ion Chicu told  NewsMaker that his party has already decided upon entering the presidential race with their own candidate, whose name is to be announced. The former prime minister added that he attended the meeting to discuss “unified opposition actions,” including “in case of election fraud,” but the candidate issue for their party is already resolved.

Will the Moldovan opposition be able to reach an agreement on a unified presidential candidate? Alexei Tulbure, former permanent representative of Moldova to the UN and the Council of Europe, and a political analyst, believes that the entire opposition (left, right, and centrist) will not be able to nominate a single candidate, and that all this talk is just that — talk. “I don't see how people who believe in different gods can nominate a single candidate who would meet the aspirations of each party,” said the expert.

In his opinion, these parties will not be able to propose a common idea beyond the idea of “ousting Sandu,” and the idea of ousting Sandu will not yield the necessary electoral results. “There must be some [constructive] idea. What they can offer if they come to power. But they will not be able to put forward a common idea,” Tulbure is convinced.

Valeriu Pasha, executive director of WatchDog, is not yet ready to predict whether there will be a common candidate from the opposition or not, but, according to him, “there is both context and agreement among the curators” for this. “The Russian Federation will decide everything, and the fugitive oligarchs Platon, Plahotniuc, and Shor will agree on everything. It all comes down to the parties’ inability to agree among themselves,” concluded the expert.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.