Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Unprecedented Number of Protesters Take to the Streets in Moldovan Anti-corruption Demonstration

8 September 2015

On 6 September, a massive protest brought tens of thousands of people from all over Moldova to the central square in Chisinau demanding the resignation of Moldovan president Nicolae Timofti and calling for early elections to be held in March. Protesters also demand direct election of the president, who is now elected by a 2/3 majority in the parliament, as well as the dismissal of a number of senior officials at the attorney general’s office and the National Bank of Moldova. Judicial reform, greater media freedom and the cancellation of recent sharp increase of electricity and gas rates were mentioned among other demands.

The protest was sparked by the increasing public frustration over rampant corruption, which led to a rapid depreciation of Moldovan currency and hit significantly the living standards in the country. Despite the fact that the protest was held under the EU and Moldovan flags, the demonstration has the potential to bring down the pro-European integration coalition currently ruling the country that discredited itself with a number of corruption scandals. The 1 billion-dollar bank fraud (about 1/8 of Moldova’s GDP) for which nobody was held responsible is quoted as the most representative. As a result, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank stopped their lending programs to Moldova. Speaker of Moldovan parliament Andrian Candu later disclosed the investigative report on the three bankrupt banks prepared by the Kroll company for the National Bank of Moldova.

The anti-corruption protest was organized by Dignity and Truth (Demnitate şi Adevăr - DA) organization, which is said to be non-political and independent. According to one of its leaders, political analyst Igor Boțan, in spite of political nature of Dignity and Truth demands, the organization has no plans to become a political movement and nominate electoral candidates. Meanwhile, some observers note that the protest would benefit the main opposition parties, which are openly pro-Russian and pro-Eurasian Customs Union and have already expressed their support to the protest.

After appearing in front of protesters on Sunday, Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Streleț promised to weigh their demands and address the raised issues. In the meantime, protest organizers have set up dozens of tents and promise to stay until their demands are met. 

In light of these developments, EaP CSF reiterates its call for a transparent and responsible investigation of the banking fraud involving concrete actions to hold responsible all those involved.

Radio Free Europe

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