The PNL, Romania’s main right-wing party, opened its offshoot in the Moldovan capital, PNL Chisinau, on Monday evening, and promised to open further branches all over the neighbouring country.
“We laid the foundations for the establishment of local organisations, and I started by setting up the local organisation PNL Chisinau,” the president of the PNL in Moldova, Adrian Dupu, wrote on Facebook.
The move comes just a few months before parliamentary elections in Romania, which are to be held at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
“We are consolidating! I am glad that more and more Romanians from Bessarabia [a region that includes most of Moldova] are joining the PNL team and getting involved in Romanian political life [to be] closer to Romania,” Dupu said.
Romania has granted about 700,000 citizenships to Moldovans. Nearly a quarter of Moldovans now have dual nationality – Moldovan and Romanian.
In recent years, more and more Moldovans have been showing interest in Romanian political life, mostly expressing pro-European or unionist political views, and voting in elections in Romania.
Romania has started to open increasing numbers of polling stations in Moldova for elections, and Romanian political parties have become more and more interested in campaigning in Moldova.
Former Romanian President Traian Basescu and his People’s Movement Party used to be the best-known politician in Moldova, but since 2015 the PNL President Klaus Iohannis have become more popular.
“It is a normal thing that creating [Romanian political] organisations in Moldova has become a tradition as there are 700,000 Romanians here, but I am not sure the [PNL’s] timing is right. This move should have been made earlier, or after the presidential elections [in Moldova in November],” political analyst Ion Tabarta told BIRN.
Tabarta said he thought the pro-Russian Socialist Party of Moldovan President Igor Dodon will exploit the PNL’s move during the election campaign, claiming that Bucharest is involved in “foreign intervention” in Moldova with the aim of unifying the two countries.
“One of the main themes used by President Igor Dodon in his presidential campaign is to fuel the Moldovan ‘nationalists’ and the pro-Russian ethnics against Romania over a virtual reunification,” said Tabarta.