A President’s Profile: Who Is Maia Sandu, First Woman Voted For President of Moldova

A President’s Profile: Who Is Maia Sandu, First Woman Voted For President of Moldova
19 November 2020 | 12:07

Maia Sandu, the candidate of the Action and Solidarity Party for the position of president, gained 58% of the votes in the current election, being the first woman president in the history of Moldova. Maia Sandu lives in a two-room apartment in Chișinău, capital of Moldova, and drives a Toyota RAV 4, manufactured in 2007. The politician claims that the money for both purchases is from the World Bank, where she worked, with a short break, for almost ten years. Sandu came to the public’s attention with her appointment as Minister of Education, where she distinguished herself by introducing strict rules for baccalaureate exams, optimizing schools. Also, she promoted a new Education Code, which provided, among other things, the election by competition of the heads of educational institutions.

Maia Sandu (48 years old) was born in the Fălești district, north-west of Moldova. Her father, Grigore, was the director of a pig farming complex, and her mother, Emilia, worked as a teacher. After graduating from the Academy of Economic Studies, in 1994, at the age of 22, Maia Sandu started her career at the Ministry of Economy, in the Department of International Cooperation and Economic Organizations. Later, she became deputy head of the Department. For three years, Maia Sandu studied part-time at the Academy of Studies in Public Administration under the Government of Moldova.

 Maia Sandu’s career

Between 1998-2005 Maia Sandu worked as an economist at the World Bank Office in Moldova. Subsequently, she returned to the Minister of Economy she worked as head of the General Directorate for Macroeconomic Policy and Development Programs. Sandu resigned from the Ministry a few months before Igor Dodon became head of the institution. She served as a program coordinator and later as a consultant on local public administration reform. In 2009-2010 Sandu graduated with a Master’s degree from Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the USA. She remained overseas in Washington DC and became one of the advisers to the World Bank Executive Director. In 2012, the Liberal Democratic Party appointed Maia Sandu as Minister of Education, which led the government. In July 2015, Maia Sandu was nominated as a candidate for prime minister. However, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party refused to consider her candidacy after Sandu came with several preconditions to accept the position. Following this episode, she left the Government led by the Liberal Democratic Party. In December 2015, Maia Sandu permanently distanced herself from the Party, founding the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) with several members from her team from the Ministry of Education.

Apartment from 2003, car from 2012

According to the declaration of assets, Sandu has an apartment of 74.5 square meters in Chișinău, bought in 2003, a Toyota Rav 4 car, manufactured in 2007, purchased in 2012 for about 10 thousand euros money earned during her work in the United States.

Maia Sandu has not held any public office in the last year. She held the prime minister’s position between June and November 2019 until the Socialists, and the Democrats voted a censure motion to dismiss her from the Government’s leadership position. That’s because the Government assumed responsibility for a bill that would have allowed the prime minister to pre-select the candidates for the general prosecutor’s part. Socialists and Democrats have accused her of trying to politicize the prosecution.

According to the information from the declaration of assets and interests submitted in 2020 to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), the Solidarity and Action Party leader received six months as prime minister up to 5,500 euros. Before that, between February and July 2019, Sandu obtained up to 2,500 euros as a deputy. In 2016, when she first ran for president, Maia Sandu said she had 75,000 U.S. dollars in a foreign bank account, remaining 24.2 thousand in 2020.Moldova’s capital

Maia Sandu became known to the public after she became Minister of Education. As long as she headed the Ministry of Education, Maia Sandu implemented strict rules at high school final exams, including video cameras, optimizing schools, and promoting a new Education Code. The Code provided, among others, the election of heads of educational institutions through competition, but also more independence for university rectors.

Maia Sandu defeated Igor Dodon on November 15 by a difference of 253 thousand votes. She gained 943,486 votes, the equivalent of 57.75%, while for Dodon, only 690,139 citizens gave their votes (42.25%). Sandu is the first woman in history to be voted for the position of President of Moldova.

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