Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The official name of the country is the Republic of Moldova, abbreviated Moldova. Moldova adopted a new constitution on July 28, 1994. Transnistria declared independence in 1990, which was not recognized by the central government. The region inhabited by the Gagauz minority received special autonomous status in December 1994. The government has a total of 13 ministers. The composition of the government in May 2022 is as follows:
Natalia Gavrilița – Interim Prime Minister
Nicu Popoescu – Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
Oleg Serebrian – Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration
Iurie Țurcanu – Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization
Sergiu Gaibu – Minister of Economy
Dumitru Budianschi – Minister of Finance
Sergiu Litvienco – Minister of Justice
Ana Revenco – Minister of the Interior
Anatolie Nosatîi – Minister of Defense
Anatolie Topală – Minister of Education and Research
Sergiu Prodan – Minister of Culture
Ala Nemerenco – Minister of Health
Marcel Spătari – Minister of Labor and Social Affairs
Viorel Gherciu – Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry
Andrei Spânu – Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Iuliana Cantaragiu – Minister of the Environment
The President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova Ion Tighineanu and the President of the Autonomous Region of Gagauzia (Bashkan) Irina Vlah are also members of the government.
Moldova is a parliamentary republic, elections to the unicameral parliament are held on the basis of a mixed electoral system every four years. Since 2016, the president has been directly elected on the basis of a two-round system. In the last presidential elections held in November 2020, the opposition pro-European candidate M. Sandu won with a program that emphasized the pro-European direction of Moldova and the liberation of politics from the influence of oligarchs. However, the formal powers of the president are small. The parliament, controlled by the Socialist Party, stood in the way of the change in the highest post being reflected in real politics and state administration. Political instability culminated in the dissolution of parliament and early elections held in June 2021. Check computerminus to learn more about Moldova political system.
The elections were won by the pro-European party PAS, and the new government of Natalie Gavrility announced the fight against corruption, reform of state administration, reform of justice and investment in infrastructure as government program topics. The election result, in which PAS has a majority of 63 seats in the 101-member parliament, marked a significant confirmation of Moldova’s pro-European orientation. A reform of state administration took place and the number of ministries was expanded from nine to thirteen. The government approved constitutional changes that strengthened the autonomy of judges and their ability to withstand political pressure.
At the turn of the year, one of the main topics of Moldovan politics was the energy crisis and there was a threat of suspension of gas supplies. After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Moldova condemned Russia’s attack and the parliament declared a state of emergency. Refugees have been pouring into Moldova since the beginning of the war, by May 2022 more than 420,000 have crossed the border into Moldova. refugees, of which about 100,000 remains in MD territory. In relation to the number of inhabitants (approx. million), the load on the country is extremely high. More than 90% of the refugees have found accommodation with Moldovan families and Moldova is trying to give them access to schools and hospitals.
In Moldovan society, in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, public opinion is shifting and the pro-European majority is strengthening. More than 60% of respondents declared their decisive or partial support for Ukraine, while only slightly more than 20% announced the same support for RU.
Foreign policy of the country
Geopolitically, Moldova is located on the border between East and West, and Moldovan politics is influenced by a strong societal divide regarding the country’s direction. The country’s pro-European orientation and the integration of Moldova into the EU are promoted by the current president and the government.
Economic relations also play an increasingly important role. In 2014, Moldova signed an Association Agreement (AA) with the EU, which includes a Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA). In January 2016, the DCFTA was extended to the entire territory of Moldova, including Transnistria. The DCFTA establishes a free trade area between the EU and Moldova in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization and removes import duties for most goods. After the preliminary implementation of the AA/DCFTA, the share of EU countries in Moldova’s foreign trade is gradually increasing. Moldovan exports to EU countries have been gradually increasing since 2014, reaching over 66% of total exports in 2021, imports of goods from the EU accounted for almost 44% of total imports, and the EU has become the most important trading partner for Moldova. Check relationshipsplus for Moldova defense and foreign policy.
The EU cooperates with Moldova in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy and its eastern regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership. The main goal is to improve the quality of life of citizens, strengthen the rule of law and improve the business environment with the aim of taking advantage of the benefits arising from the DCFTA, as well as supporting greater interconnection between the energy and transport sectors. On April 28, 2014, the visa requirement for holders of biometric passports was abolished in Moldova. Moldova has also been provided with relatively large amounts of development aid practically since the very beginning of the independent state.
The main priorities of the government’s foreign policy are the development of relations with the EU, active implementation of the association agreement with the EU and participation in the Eastern Partnership, as well as relations with neighboring countries. Regarding Moldova’s relationship with its closest neighbors, Moldova’s relationship with Romania is especially strong, in all areas. Approximately 700 thousand Moldovans also have Romanian citizenship. On the contrary, the relationship with Ukraine was rather neglected by both parties.
Moldova’s foreign policy is heavily influenced by the frozen conflict with unrecognized Transnistria, a separatist region between the Dniester River and the border with Ukraine. Since 1992, when a ceasefire agreement was signed, the region has been supported by the Russian Federation. The unresolved status of Transnistria is used by the RF to consolidate its position in the region.
The Republic of Moldova is a member of a number of international organizations, including the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, WTO, World Bank, EBRD, IMF, Energy Charter and regional groupings such as: GUAM, Central European Initiative, CIS, CEFTA, Energy Community of Southeast European countries, etc. In May 2021, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia announced the formation of the “Association Trio”.
In 2022, growing tensions in the region became the main topic. Moldova reacted to Russian aggression against Ukraine by condemning it from the country’s highest representatives. However, Moldova did not join the international sanctions, mainly in view of the constitutionally enshrined neutrality, energy dependence on the Russian Federation and Moldova’s vulnerability also in connection with the separatist Transnistria. Moldova is heavily affected by the refugee crisis and is asking for international help, especially with strengthening the capacities of border crossings with financing aid for refugees, and at the same time asking for the relocation of refugees to other states.
On March 3, 2022, Moldova applied to join the EU in connection with Ukraine’s request. The EU’s response was generally supportive, but restrained in specific aspects. In response to Moldova’s request to join the EU, the Transnistrian authorities issued a declaration calling on the Moldovan government to recognize the independence of Transnistria and conclude an interstate treaty, which Moldova refused.
The population of the Republic of Moldova (excluding Transnistria) was 2,640,438 in 2020, according to the National Statistical Office. The results of the May 2014 population census, which were not published until spring 2017, indicate a population of 2,998,235, of which 7.5% are non-residents. The decrease in population is mainly attributed to the departure of Moldovan citizens abroad (mostly for economic reasons). The number of inhabitants of Transnistria is officially 464,949, unofficially it is estimated at a maximum of 300,000. persons.
Several ethnic groups live in the Republic of Moldova. According to the 2014 census, ethnic minorities represent 17.93% of the population. Moldovans make up 75.1%, Ukrainians 6.6%, Russians 4.1%, Gagauz 4.6% and Romanians 7%. Compared to the 2004 census, the population of Romanian nationality increased from 1.9% to 7%.
The official language is Romanian, the use of Russian is widespread, 9.4% of citizens of Moldova state it as their mother tongue. In the capital, there are significantly more Russian-speaking residents than the share of ethnic Russians in the country’s total population, amounting to 50%. Russian is still used as a language of communication between the nationalities living in Moldova and until recently had the status of “language for inter-ethnic communication”, this status was revoked in early 2021 by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Moldova. Russian is also the main language of communication in the Autonomous Region of Gagauzia and Transnistria.
The predominant religion is Orthodoxy, and the share of the Orthodox population is more than 90%. About 80% of the Orthodox population belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate and only about 20% to the Romanian Bessarabian metropolis.
Moldova is experiencing a strong demographic crisis, there is a long-term decrease in the number of inhabitants. The reason is both the low rate of population growth and the departure of the population, mainly of working age, abroad. The reason is primarily the economic and social uncertainty in the country and the often cited lack of perspective. In some regions of the country, a lack of qualified labor is therefore already observed. Moldova’s population is projected to continue to decline by an average of between 0.6% and 1.6% per year. There is also an aging population, the share of the economically active population is approximately 31% and continues to decline.
The average life expectancy in 2020 was 72.01 years (68 years for men and 7years for women). The population density is 9inhabitants per km2, more than 42% of the population lives in cities.