In time, the north, center and south of Moldova have voted relatively differently and this is explainable from historical-economic viewpoint. The northern districts are primarily pro-Eurasian for socioeconomic reasons that come from the Soviet period, with a particular regional identity that is being reshaped. Northern Moldova has been better developed from economic view since the Soviet period. Bălți town was full of factories, while agriculture was well developed. There is also the ethnic factor as there is a large community of Ukrainians that is influential in Bălți and the northern districts. This usually votes the Eurasian course. In Moldova, the Ukrainians tend to support Russia more than Ukraine, expert Igor Boțan stated in IPN’s public debate “Particularities of voting in geographical areas and territorial-administrative units of the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region and ATU Gagauzia: motives and effects.
“During the independence years, the north initially supported the agrarians more. These were called the agrarian nomenclature. The explanation is very simple: it was a developed zone from agricultural viewpoint. The agrarians were considered pragmatic people with administrative aptitudes. This region continues to have a special profile, while the regionalization of the vote took shape after Renato Usatyi won the mayoral elections in the municipality of Bălți in 2015. Now this thing starts to be more pronounced again,” stated the expert.
Igor Boțan noted that with the disappearance of Vlad Plahotniuc, things should have changed, but they didn’t. The vote in the municipal elections of October 2019 was practically similar to that in the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019, but in districts the people do not know the candidates for district councilor from the lists. A role was probably played by the projects started by the Democrats, which were undertaken by the Socialists. Despite the socioeconomic, geopolitical, ethnic particularities, the vote can be anyway induced by politics.
As regards the vote in the Transnistrian region, the expert said a number of factors should be taken into account here. Many Moldovans in the Transnistrian region live in an authoritarian environment, under anti-Moldovan propagandistic pressure. However, there are citizens who regret that the country was divided and want it to be unified somehow. Since 1994 until 2014, 0.3% to 0.7% of the Transnistrians have taken part in the parliamentary elections and the presidential elections in the Republic of Moldova. On average, half of percentage of those who voted in elections were from Transnistria. These were probably persons who regretted that the conflict remains unsettled.
“The proportion changed in 2016. I think they were motivated to vote in these elections in order to ensure the victory of a candidate who said that he would resolve the Transnistrian dispute, that Moldova moved towards the Eurasian integration, etc.,” he stated, noting that at the parliamentary elections of 2019, 37,000 Transnistrian voters cast their ballots, which is 2.5%. Without that 0.5%, the rest of the people were brought in an organized way and these do not care about Moldova. They simply benefitted from the opportunity to earn some money.
The public debate “Particularities of voting in geographical areas and territorial-administrative units of the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region and ATU Gagauzia: motives and effects” was the fifth installment of the electoral series “We and the President: who elects who, who represents who” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.