Mrs. Irina Vlah who won the elections recently held in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Moldova), took up her function in a swearing-in ceremony held in Komrat on April 15th, 2015.
The ceremony which took place in the central square of the city gathered the Prime Minister of Moldova Krill Gaburoviç, the Chairman of the Parliament Adrian Candu, and the Metropolitan of Moldova Vladimir Kantaryan along with high-level officials from foreign representations.
The ceremony started with the national anthems of Moldova and Gagauzia and went on with the announcement of the decision of the Electoral Board and the Court of Appeal on the election. The Chairman of the Local Parliament of the Gagauz People Dimitriy Konstantinov who took the floor at the ceremony stressed the fact that elections were held in line with related principles and regulations stipulated in the constitution. Mr. Konstantinov, who handed over a book containing the constitution of Gagauzia to the new Chairwoman Irina Vlah said: «Please remain faithful to these laws and regulations.»
The newly elected Chairwoman Irina Vlah said: «Our goal is to safeguard peace and economic growth in the region and to improve our cooperation with Moldova.» Mrs. Vlah then took her certificate of election and swore an oath of allegiance.
The Prime Minister Gaburovich who also took the floor at the ceremony said that the aim is to achieve higher living standards through the growth of the agricultural sector and the preservation of local cultures. Gaburovich added: «We may belong to different nations but our common reference is the Republic of Moldova, and I believe that if everyone gives his/her best, we will all live a better life» and stressed the importance of unity and solidarity.
The Metropolitan of Moldova Vladimir Kantaryan who also said a few words on the occasion of the Easter Celebrations greeted the people saying: ‘Jesus resuscitated. Jesus really resuscitated’. The Metropolitan of Moldova who added that the Gagauz people are a Christian people which respects Allah and live according to Allah’s commendments, offered the ‘Nadejda’ icon of hope along with a bible to Mrs. Irina Vlah.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Chisinau H.E. Mehmet Selim Kartal who was also present at the ceremony complimented the former Governor Mihail Formuzal and congratulated the new Chairman Irina Vlah wishing her success in bringing about peace among the people of the region: «Turkey will further support the preservation of the status of Gagauzia as an autonomous territorial unit along with the preservation of the territorial unity of Moldova with a view to increasing prosperity and safeguarding peace among the people of Moldova and Gagauzia.»
While the Speaker of the Parliament of Moldova Adrian Candu expressed his commitment to taking further steps towards EU membership, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Ferid Muhammedshin said that bilateral relations will be further developed in the field of economy.
The former Governor of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Moldova) Mihail Formuzal also took the floor to congratulate Mrs. Irina Vlah and wish her success. The ceremony went on with a concert featuring folk dances and songs.
The ceremony and concert were followed by a reception during which Mr. Sancar MULAZIMOGLU, the Head of Department of the International Organization of Turkic Culture, congratulated Mrs. Irina VLAH for her electoral victory and extended a souvenir of TURKSOY to her on this occasion.
Gagauzia has maintained a strong relationship with Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. Though the region has three official languages – Gagauz, Romanian, and Russian – Russian is most widely spoken, while proficiency in Romanian is low. Most schools teach in Russian, and about 10 percent of students fail their exams in Romanian language and literature. At the same time, on the basis of shared ethnic and linguistic ties, Turkey has also sought to gain influence, including through significant investments.
Thus most analysts believe the chances of armed conflict are low. Moreover, as a relatively small percentage of the Moldovan population and territory, Gagauzia does not have the political and economic power to shape Moldova’s European policy. With an eye toward the Transnistrian example of international isolation and dependence on Russia, the Gagauz elites are not inclined to seek independence. Yet if Moldova wants to integrate more closely with Europe, it will need to address the concerns and demands of the Gagauz population.
The region can certainly play a spoiler role for Moldova’s EU harmonization, including by using the threat of separatism, plus political support from Moscow, as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from Chisinau. Russia dominates the media landscape in Gagauzia, and as a result, there is both a lack of knowledge about the EU, as well as rampant misinformation about Moldova’s European integration. Thus the population is unlikely to back Chisinau’s Western aspirations.
So far Vlah seems to be dealing pretty well with the new elected president of Moldova