Maia Sandu

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Maia Sandu
Maia Sandu - MUS2559 (cropped).jpg
Sandu in 2019
President-elect of Moldova
Assuming office
23 December 2020
SucceedingIgor Dodon
13th Prime Minister of Moldova
In office
8 June 2019 – 14 November 2019
PresidentIgor Dodon
Preceded byPavel Filip
Succeeded byIon Chicu
Member of the Moldovan Parliament
In office
24 February 2019 – 8 July 2019
Succeeded byGalina Sajin
In office
30 November 2014 – 18 February 2015
Succeeded byPetru Știrbate
Minister of Education
In office
24 July 2012 – 30 July 2015
PresidentNicolae Timofti
Prime MinisterVladimir Filat
Iurie Leancă
Chiril Gaburici
Natalia Gherman (Acting)
Preceded byMihail Șleahtițchi
Succeeded byCorina Fusu
Personal details
Born
Maia Grigoryevna Sandu[citation needed]

(1972-05-24) 24 May 1972 (age 48)
Risipeni, Fălești District, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union
Citizenship
  • Moldova
  • Romania[1]
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party of Moldova (2012–2015)
Action and Solidarity Party (2016–present)
EducationAcademy of Economic Studies of Moldova
Academy of Public Administration
Harvard University

Maia Sandu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈmaja ˈsandu], born 24 May 1972) is a Moldovan politician and the president-elect of Moldova. She is the current leader of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) and former Prime Minister of Moldova from 8 June 2019 until 14 November 2019.[2] On 12 November 2019, Sandu's government fell after a vote of no-confidence, with 63 (deputies from PSRM and PDM) of the 101 MPs having voted on the motion submitted by the PSRM.[3][4]

Sandu was Minister of Education from 2012 to 2015 and member of the Parliament of Moldova from 2014 to 2015, and again in 2019.[5][6][7] She was selected as the joint candidate of the pro-European PPDA and PAS parties for President of Moldova in the 2016 election. However, she was defeated in the subsequent runoff by the pro-Russian PSRM candidate, Igor Dodon, losing the popular vote by a margin of 48% to 52%. In a rematch between Dodon and Sandu in the 2020 election, she won the subsequent runoff, 58% to 42%. She will be the first female president of Moldova elected by the popular vote.[8]

Early life and professional career[edit]

Sandu was born on 24 May 1972 in the commune of Risipeni, located in the Fălești District in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (under the USSR). She was born to of Grigorie, a veterinarian and Emilia Sandu[9], a teacher.[10][11] From 1989 to 1994, she majored in management at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (ASEM). From 1995 to 1998, she majored in international relations at the Academy of Public Administration (AAP) in Chișinău. In 2010, she graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 2010 to 2012, Sandu worked as Adviser to the Executive Director at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.. Sandu speaks Russian, Spanish and English in addition to her native Romanian.

Political career[edit]

From 2012 to 2015 she served as Minister of Education of Moldova. She was considered on 23 July 2015 by the Liberal Democratic Party as a nominee to be the next Prime Minister of Moldova, succeeding Natalia Gherman and Chiril Gaburici.[12]

Sandu at a meeting with Ovidiu Raețchi in January 2016

A day after being proposed by a renewed pro-European coalition, Sandu set the departure of the Head of the National Bank of Moldova, Dorin Drăguțanu and the State Prosecutor Corneliu Gurin as conditions for her acceptance of the office.[13] Ultimately, Valeriu Streleț was nominated over Sandu by the President of Moldova.

On 23 December 2015 she launched a platform „În /pas/ cu Maia Sandu” ("In step with Maia Sandu"[citation needed]) that later became a political party called "Partidul Acțiune și Solidaritate" ("Party of Action and Solidarity").[14][15]

In 2016, Sandu was the pro-European candidate in the Moldovan presidential election. Running on a pro-EU action platform, she was one of the two candidates that reached the runoff of the election.[13]

According to some polls from 2019, Sandu ranks among the most trusted three politicians in Moldova.[16][17][18] The most recent available poll, conducted by Public Opinion Fund, shows that Sandu is the second most trusted political personality, polling at 24%, closely following Igor Dodon, who polls at 26%.[19] Other older polls, however, place her lower, in the 6th place.[20]

As Prime Minister[edit]

Sandu meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House, September 2019.

In the 2019 parliamentary election, Sandu's PAS together with its ally, PPDA led by Andrei Năstase formed the ACUM Electoral Bloc and secured 26 of the 101 seats in the Parliament of Moldova.[21] On 8 June 2019, Maia Sandu was elected Prime Minister of Moldova in a coalition government with PSRM.[22] On the same day, the Constitutional Court of Moldova declared unconstitutional her designation for this position as well as the appointment of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, which sparked the 2019 constitutional crisis.[23] However, on 15 June 2019, the Constitutional Court revised and repealed its previous decisions declaring the Sandu Cabinet to have been constitutionally created.[24]

The next day, she called for the restoration of public order, discouraging citizens from attending local rallies.[25] In June 2019, she lifted a March 2017 ban by former Prime Minister Filip of official visits by government officials to Russia.[26] In one of her first interviews to foreign media, she announced her intention to request that the United States Treasury add Vlad Plahotniuc to the Magnitsky List.[27] In August, Sandu asked the State Chancellery to prepare a draft decree where 23 August was declared to be the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism instead of the regular Liberation Day. The decree was opposed by her coalition partner, the PSRM, with Moldova's president and ex-PSRM leader Igor Dodon announcing that he will celebrate the date in the old style, rejecting Sandu's proposal.[28]

Under Maia Sandu, Moldova began taking steps towards the European Union as Sandu herself is pro-E.U. Maia Sandu was ousted as prime minister on 12 November 2019, following a vote of no confidence. She remained as a caretaker of the office until the formation of a new government.[29]

International trips as Prime Minister[edit]

Sandu with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, July 2019.
International trips of Maia Sandu
Date Country City
2 July 2019  Romania[30] Bucharest
3-4 July 2019  Belgium[31] Brussels
11 July 2019  Ukraine[32] Kyiv
16 July 2019  Germany[33] Berlin
22 August 2019  Lithuania[34] Vilnius
11 September 2019  USA[35][36][37] Washington, D.C.

2020 presidential campaign[edit]

Logo of Sandu's campaign

Sandu announced her candidacy for the 2020 presidential election on 18 July[38], declaring that a joint pro-European candidate would not be needed as there was no risk of there being no pro-European candidates in the second round.[39] Sandu officially launched her campaign on 2 October 2020, holding 2 speeches in Romanian and Russian both promising to fight corruption, poverty, and to reform the criminal justice system,[40] while accusing president Dodon of deliberately hindering the latter.[41][42][43][44] Because no candidate received a majority of votes in the first round, a run-off between Sandu and Dodon was held on 15 November, in which Sandu won with 57.75% of the popular vote.[45][46]

She was congratulated on her win by senior leaders of the European Union, as well as President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine,[47] President Qasym-Jomart Toqaev of Kazakhstan,[48] Azeri President Ilham Aliyev[49] and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania.[50] Sandu was also congratulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had initially endorsed Dodon.[51] In her press conference, she declared that Moldova under her leadership "will secure real balance in the foreign policy, being guided by Moldova's national interests, we will have a pragmatic dialogue with all the countries, including Romania, Ukraine, European nations, Russia and the US".[citation needed]

Controversies[edit]

In September 2016, Sandu instituted proceedings against the State Chancellery, requesting to be presented the shorthand from the Cabinet meeting where the state guarantees for the three bankrupted banks (Banca Socială, Unibank and Banca de Economii) had been approved.[52] Prime Minister Pavel Filip published on his Facebook page, the shorthand of the last Cabinet meeting, when the decision on granting the emergency credit for the Banca de Economii was adopted. The shorthand included the speeches of former NBM governor Dorin Drăguțanu, former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici, and Sandu's own speeches from the time as minister of education. It is mentioned that at the end the decision was voted unanimously. The shorthand was not signed.[53]

In 2016, within the debates for the presidential elections, Sandu was asked by the socialist Ion Ceban if she voted for the airport concession at the Cabinet meeting of 29 May 2013. In reply, Sandu said that she did not attend the Government meeting in which the airport concession was voted. However, the socialists lifted the archive and obtained the video recording showing that Sandu participated in the meeting and voted for the concession of Chișinău International Airport.[54]

Regarding former leader of Romania Ion Antonescu, Sandu said in 2018 that he was "a historical figure about whom we may say both good and bad things". Her statements were sharply criticized by the Jewish Community of Moldova (CERM), who issued an open letter stating: "The lack of sanctions for... Holocaust denial and glorification of fascism in Moldovan legislation allows some opinion leaders and political leaders to not be held accountable for such acts, and lets them create their public image by distorting and revising historical facts and fueling inter-ethnic and inter-religious discrimination and hate".[55][56] Sandu replied to this accusation in later interviews by stating "I regret that my words about the dictator Ion Antonescu were made an object of interpretation... My attitude towards any criminal regime of the 20th century, whether Nazi or communist, which have millions of lives on their consciences, is well known and unequivocally negative. Ion Antonescu was a war criminal, rightly condemned by the international community for war crimes against Jewish and Roma people".[57][58]

On 21 February 2019, Sandu and the candidates of the ACUM electoral bloc, both of the national and uninominal constituency, signed a public commitment according to which after the Parliamentary elections of 24 February 2019 they would not make any coalition with the Party of Socialists, Democratic Party and Shor Party, and if this commitment is violated they will resign as MPs.[59][60][61][62] She violated this self-imposed commitment after agreeing to form a coalition government along with the Party of Socialists in early June 2019.[63]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pavel Filip
Prime Minister of Moldova
2019
Succeeded by
Ion Chicu
Preceded by
Igor Dodon
President of Moldova
Taking office 2020
Elect