July 2023 | Ministers replaced after airport shooting
Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean replaced the ministers of Interior, Education, and Development on 14 July. The ministers had resigned following a deadly gun attack at Chisinau Airport on 30 June, where a Tajik citizen killed two officers after being denied entry to Moldova. The resignation of Interior Minister, Ana Revenco, had been demanded by parliamentary opposition. However, the relation of the portfolios of ministers of Science and Education, and Infrastructure and Regional Development was not made publicly clear by the government.
June 2023 | Chisinau holds country’s largest peaceful Pride
Moldova held the largest and most peaceful Pride march in its history on 18 June in Chisinau, where marchers far outnumbered counter-protesters, police presence was “less dense” than previous years, and no incidents of harassment were recorded. For the second year in a row, the march went on despite the mayor’s announcement that the city would not authorize the march – an authority that the mayor’s office does not hold. The improving climate for LGBTQIA+ rights in Moldova, including new legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in 2023, led to the country’s jump by fourteen places (one of the six countries with the biggest improvement) in ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map, a ranking of European countries’ LGBTQIA+ friendly laws and policies.
May 2023 | Gagauzia election delivers controversy
Shor Party candidate Evghenia Gutul was elected Bashkan (governor) of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia with 52 per cent of the vote in a run-off election on 14 May. Gutul ran on a platform of promoting closer ties to Russia and her election has raised concerns of increasing tensions between the central government and the Gagauz autonomous territory, where the overwhelming majority of the population are members of the Turkic-speaking Gagauz ethnic group. However, support for Gutul has been attributed to promises to bring economic development, and all eight candidates for office were openly pro-Russian. The election was marked by disputes between the central election commissions of Moldova and Gagauzia, and protests in the Gagauz capital of Comrat were sparked when anti-corruption officials seized voter lists as part of an electoral fraud investigation. Moldovan courts upheld the results of the election, despite citing electoral violations and evidence of bribery. Turnout for the first and second round were 61 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively, although observers alleged that voter rolls had been tampered with to push the official turnout above the necessary 50 per cent to validate the election.
April 2023 | Oligarch Ilan Shor sentenced in absentia
The exiled Moldovan oligarch and political party leader Ilan Shor was sentenced to 15 years in prison on 13 April for his role in the theft of about USD 1 billion in bank assets, or about 15 per cent of the country’s GDP, in 2015. The Moldovan parliament then stripped Shor of his parliamentary mandate on 27 April. Shor’s party, which holds six of parliament’s 101 seats, has organized large protests against inflation and the government’s support of Ukraine. These protests contributed to the resignation of the government in February 2023. The Moldovan government has argued the protests are the work of “criminal groups” and that protesters are being compensated to attend. Protesters interviewed by journalists have spoken openly about being transported to the capital on buses by the Shor Party and paid a daily rate to participate.