October 3, 2022
bne IntelliNews - Thousands join anti-government protest in Moldova

Several thousand people joined an anti-government protest in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on September 18, organised by the opposition Shor Party led by fugitive businessman Ilan Shor. 

Moldova’s ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) was elected by a landslide in 2021, but since then the Western-oriented government has come under pressure because of the strains of coping with high inflation, increased energy prices and the impact of the war in neighbouring Ukraine, including the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees. 

Participants in the march called for the resignations of Sandu and Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita’s government. 

“We have gathered here today to take on the future of this country. The people of the Republic of Moldova, who put those from PAS in office, have every right to hold them accountable,” said Dinu Turcanu of the Shor Party at the rally. 

“The Republic of Moldova is in clinical death, and those who will revive it are the people who came here today. Moldova will regain its dignity. We have only one condition: Down with Maia Sandu!” added Turcanu, according to a party statement. 

The protest organisers have set up tents on the square outside Moldova’s parliament and say they intend to continue the protest “non-stop” to push for Sandu’s and the government’s resignations. 

Turcanu claimed that tens of thousands of people took part in the protest and that many more were prevented from attending. However, according to the Moldovan police, quoted by Deschide.md, the protesters numbered around 6,500. 

Shor, one of the main suspects in Moldova’s so-called ‘$1bn bank frauds’, fled the country in 2019. However, he still has a following within Moldova, and a recent poll showed that the Shor Party would take 15.5% of the votes if an election were held now. 

The protest took place just days after another opposition bloc, the Bloc of Socialists and Communists filed a no-confidence motion against the government.

The motion has no chance of succeeding as Sandu’s PAS has over 51% of the votes in parliament. 

However, it reflects growing frustration in Moldova, which faces an increasing number of economic problems that will worsen if gas supplies are cut off by Gazprom. 

Moldova’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row in Q2, when it edged down by 1.3 q/q, and the government recently revised its growth forecast for this year to zero. Meanwhile, annual inflation reached 34.3% in August.

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