Moldova's ex-leader calls for snap elections amid gas price spike
Moldova's pro-Russia ex-president has called for snap presidential and parliamentary elections to be held, amid soaring natural gas prices, and has urged the pro-Western government to negotiate with Moscow for cheaper gas supplies.
Moldova sources virtually all of its natural gas from Russia, although it is capable of tapping gas from Romania thanks to the recent commissioning of a pipeline running between Greece and Bulgaria, enabling more of the Balkan region to obtain regasified LNG and piped supply from Azerbaijan.
Ex-president Igor Dodon lost re-election in November 2020, has been placed under house arrest on charges of treason and graft, which he denies. But he still wields significant influence over the country.
"President Maia Sandu and prime minister Natalia Gavrilita should set aside their pride and urgently head to Moscow to agree a lower price for gas like the leadership of Hungary .... which pays a much better price than Moldova," Dodon said on August 2, according to Reuters. "Snap presidential and parliamentary elections should be organised and the new authorities ... should reduce the import price several times and significantly reduce tariffs for end consumers."
His comments come a day after Moldova's state gas supplier Moldovagaz announced that the price it pays Gazprom for gas had shot up 47% in August, to $1,459/'000 m3. The government is preparing contingency plans in the event that Gazprom cuts off supply, which it has threatened to do in the event Moldova fails to pay off an historic debt for deliveries.