Monday 5 December 2016

So, why were hundreds of Moldovans queuing at the Gresham today?

Published 13/11/2016 | 16:03

Moldovan Voters queue at The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street today to vote in their Presidential elections. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Moldovan Voters queue at The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street today to vote in their Presidential elections. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Hundreds of Moldovans queued outside the Gresham today to vote for their next President, 2,000 miles away.

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All Moldovan citizens can vote in this election, and since Moldova does not have an embassy in Ireland, the community here booked a room at the Gresham to cast their votes.

One voter told Unimedia, a Moldovan news website: “We woke up at 5 am, we travelled more than 600 km, but nothing scares us because we're excited and motivated. We care. We want a better future for our country."

This is the first direct Presidential election since 1996, following the Constitutional Court’s decision that the indirect elections of 2000 were unconstitutional.

Moldovan Voters queue at The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street today to vote in their Presidential elections. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Moldovan Voters queue at The Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street today to vote in their Presidential elections. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

The first round of voting left Igor Dodon of the Party of Socialists ahead with 47.98 per cent of the vote, and Maia Sandu of Action and Solidarity behind him with 38.17 per cent. Seven other candidates trailed the leaders.

Since no candidate secured a majority, all but the top two were eliminated and the second round between those two was conducted today.

This will be a significant vote for the country; Igor Dodon is more pro-Russian than his opponent Maia Sandu, who leans more towards the EU. Not only is this the first direct Presidential vote in 20 years, it could decide who Moldova’s closer allies are for the foreseeable future.

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