CHISINAU, April 5 /TASS/. The Socialist Party of Moldova will nominate its leader Igor Dodon for president.
"District party organizations have demanded that the Socialist Party participate in the forthcoming presidential elections on October 30. The majority of them are recommending the party’s Republican Council to nominate Dodon as presidential candidate," the party’s press service told journalists on Tuesday.
The Socialist Party’s parliamentary faction, the biggest in Moldova’s legislature, has also voiced support for Dodon whose popularity ratings have been the country’s highest according to the latest public opinion polls.
"We are the main opposition force and we are going to participate in the forthcoming presidential elections with our own presidential candidate. The Socialists have consistently sought a return to direct presidential elections. The idea is also supported by the majority of Moldova’s population," Dodon told TASS. He added that the opposition had suggested holding a national referendum on the issue or vote on it in parliament.
In March 2016, Moldova’s Constitutional Court passed a decision to restore direct presidential elections denouncing as illegal the 2000 reform when the deputies vested themselves with the power to elect the country’s president. The Constitutional Court’s Chairman, Alexander Tenas, noted that those amendments caused a series of political crises in Moldova when parliament failed to elect the head of state. Prior to that, Moldova had held early elections three times - in 2000, 2009 and 2010.
Mass and powerful opposition protests, in which tens of thousands are taking part, have been shaking Moldova’s capital Chisinau since last year. The protesters demand the resignation of the coalition of pro-European parties whose rule has resulted in high-profile corruption scandals and the worsening economic situation in the country.
Last Friday, the Moldovan parliament adopted a decision to set October 30, 2016 as a date for direct presidential elections. The decision will come into force on July 30 - three months before the elections when an election campaign officially kicks off.
Numerous public opinion polls suggest that Igor Dodon is the presidential race’s absolute leader supported by about 30% of respondents. Moldova has a group of five popular leaders, including the former pro-European education minister, Maia Sandu (16.4%), and Andrei Nastase, the leader of the DA (Dignity and Truth) Platform Party (13.4%). The DA Platform took part in anti-government protests held jointly with the Socialist Party and the Our Party (Patridu Nostru) of Renato Usatii, both of which are strongly opposed to the idea of Moldova’s European integration.