Elections will take place for the national parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Moldova has a parliamentary model of government in which the parliamentary majority determines the course of policy and decides who should run the government (the Prime Minister). There is a directly elected President, Igor Dodon, who took office in 2016. He is considered to be pro-Russian. He is also leader of the Socialist Party of Moldova (PSRM).
The previous parliamentary elections were in 2014 and the elections were initially expected in 2018 but these were delayed until February 2019.
There are 101 seats in parliament. The electoral system is subject to frequent alteration in the interests of domestic political actors and as a result of international influence (for instance from the Venice Commission which advises on electoral laws). The 2014 elections were under national list proportional representation but the next will take place using a mixed member proportional system following an electoral reform that was legislated in 2017.
While it is legally regarded as part of Moldova, the region of Transnistria is controlled by a separatist government and will not take part in the election.
Significance of the election
The two broad tendencies in Moldovan politics reflect orientations either towards Russia or to the European Union. Governments since 2009 have been on the pro-European side at least in theory; most parties are alleged to be influenced by wealthy oligarchs . Political parties form and dissolve frequently, particularly on the pro-European side.
Moldova has been pulled between Russia and the West since gaining independence in 1991, and Moscow still keeps about 2,000 troops in Transdniestria, a Russian-speaking region that broke from Chisinau’s control in a 1992 war.
The current ruling party in Moldova’s parliament is the Democratic Party (DPM), who aspire to EU membership. The party is led by Moldova’s richest man, Vlad Plahotniuc.
The president and the Socialist party support a stronger alliance with Russia.
Polls suggest that the Socialists will win the elections in February, thereby cementing Dodon’s power and creating a pro-Russian alliance between the presidency and the government.
Further reading and sources
Stratfor analysis ‘Moldova’s Elections Could Shift the Country’s Focus East’ https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/moldovas-elections-could-shift-countrys-focus-east
Parliament of Moldova documents on electoral system http://www.parliament.md/Actualitate/Modificareasistemuluielectoral/tabid/254/language/en-US/Default.aspx
A website run by Mihai Popsoi, a Moldovan political analyst affiliated to a small centre-right pro-European party https://moldovanpolitics.com/
The Irish Times on the forthcoming Moldovan elections, 11.12.18: