Election in Gagauzia Has Potential to Undermine Moldova’s Stability


On April 30, citizens of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in southern Moldova will head to the polls to elect a new Governor, known locally as the Başkan.

The Governor is elected for a five-year term and serves as the head of Gagauzia’s executive branch, as well as being an ex-officio member of the Moldovan cabinet.

Eight candidates are competing for the coveted office. As it stands, there are three frontrunners: Dmitrii Croitor, Viktor Petrov, and Yevgenia Hutsul.

Croitor is the most moderate and experienced of the three. He served as Governor of Gagauzia from 1999 until 2002 and has also served as Moldova’s ambassador to Turkey since 2020. This point is particularly important, as although they have been heavily Russified, the Gagauz are a Turkic ethnic group, and Istanbul has invested heavily in the autonomous region.

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