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Moldova’s opposition mulling support for Dodon in runoff election

November 02, 2016, 17:45 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Moldova’s opposition Our Party, whose nominee Dmitry Chubashenko came in third in the country’s presidential election, will consider supporting Socialist Party nominee, Igor Dodon

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Igor Dodon

Igor Dodon

© AP Photo/Roveliu Buga

CHISINAU, November 2. /TASS/. Moldova’s opposition Our Party, whose nominee Dmitry Chubashenko came in third in the country’s presidential election, will consider supporting Socialist Party nominee, Igor Dodon, Mayor of the city of Balti, Renato Usatii, who is the Our Party leader said on Wednesday.

"On November 4-5, the party’s council will convene an offsite meeting in Moscow," Usatii said. "The party leaders will attend along with our candidate Chubashenko. We are going to discuss everything with Dodon, who is due to be in Moscow then. We have questions to ask him, as do Moldovans."

Also, Usatii said that he had not held any talks with Dodon’s rival in the runoff, Maia Sandu, the leader of the Action and Solidarity Party.

"I have not discussed anything with her. I do not even know her phone number," he said.

Russia’s role in Transnistria process

Igor Dodon told TASS in an interview that Moldova would have no future until it settles the Transnistria region’s problem.

"Moldova will have no future as long as Transnistria problem remains unresolved. We are obliged to unite the country, we will do our utmost to this end," Dodon said. He recalled that Chisinau was prepared to grant a special status to Trans-Dniestria in full conformity with the law the Moldovan parliament had voted for in 2005.

"The authorities of the self-proclaimed republic disagree with this. They claim that the Moldovan legislators adopted that decision unilaterally, regardless their opinion. For their part the authorities on the left bank of Transnistria held a referendum in which a majority voted for independence and a rapprochement with Russia. This created a very complicated situation at the talks. Mediators at the five-plus-two negotiations - the OSCE, Russia and Ukraine and also US and EU observers - have been trying to help Chisinau and Tiraspol achieve a solution," Dodon said, adding he was certain that the future of Trans-Dniestria must be decided at the negotiating table.

Lack of political will

"Regrettably, the Moldovan and Transnistrian leaders currently lack the political will to resume the negotiations suspended back two and a half years ago and to bring about a final solution to this problem crucial to the country’s future. Efforts by the OSCE president, Germany and other mediators the negotiating process remains stalled. Moreover, the so-called "civic society" in Chisinau criticized Germany’s initiatives. I am certain that the Dniestrian problem must be resolved in the interests of people on both banks of the Dniester. Bold, extraordinary steps will be required," Dodon said.

Moldova’s federalization

The Socialists have drafted a plan for Moldova’s federalization, which, they say, will help settle Transnistria's problem.

"We are for achieving a settlement at the negotiating table, for establishing a federative state that would incorporate Transnistria. Germany, the United States, Russia, and many other European countries are federations. Chisinau and Tiraspol will have to negotiate power sharing at various levels. The yet-to-be adopted decision is to be approved in a referendum," Dodon said adding that Moldova’s president had no powers to make such decisions on his own.

Strategic partnership with Russia

"Russia’s role in settling the Transnistria Problem is hard to overestimate. We are for restoring strategic partnership with Russia, with which we signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation. Just recently Russia was the main importer of our goods. There is a large community of Moldovan labor migrants working in Russia, who send home billions of dollars, thus keeping the economy afloat," said Dodon, who before 2009 was Moldova’s deputy prime minister responsible for the economy.

"My first foreign visit will be to Moscow with the aim to initiate the drafting and signing of an agreement on strategic partnership with Russia," Dodon said.

Fostering bonds with neighbors

Dodon said that mending relations with Russia did not imply an end to cooperation with the European Union, the United States, Romania and Ukraine, contrary to what his election rivals have been claiming.

"In case of my election I will pay visits to Brussels, Bucharest, Kiev and other capitals. We are interested in having good relations with the United States, Romania and Ukraine," he said.

The Socialists’ leader expressed regret his statement on Crimea made in televised debates was taken out of the context and misinterpreted by some mass media.

"I believe that Crimea became a territory of the Russian Federation de facto when a majority of the peninsula’s population supported that in a referendum," Dodon said.

Dodon won 47.98% at Sunday’s presidential election, while his rival Maia Sandu chalked up 38.71%. Chubashenko came in third among the nine candidates, with 6.03%.

To secure an outright victory, a candidate needs to win 50% plus one vote. Under Moldova’s legislation, the presidential election will go to a runoff in a span of two weeks, that is on November 13.

Observers say that support from the Our Party would sufficiently increase Dodon’s chances of winning the runoff.

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