Maia Sandu

Maia Sandu
Maia Sandu (2019).jpg
13th Prime Minister of Moldova
In office
8 June 2019 – 14 November 2019
PresidentIgor Dodon
Preceded byPavel Filip
Succeeded byIon Chicu
Member of the Moldovan Parliament
In office
24 February 2019 – 8 July 2019
Succeeded byGalina Sajin
In office
30 November 2014 – 18 February 2015
Succeeded byPetru Știrbate
Minister of Education
In office
24 July 2012 – 30 July 2015
PresidentNicolae Timofti
Prime MinisterVladimir Filat
Iurie Leancă
Chiril Gaburici
Natalia Gherman (Acting)
Preceded byMihail Șleahtițchi
Succeeded byCorina Fusu
Personal details
Maia Grigoryevna Sandu

(1972-05-24) 24 May 1972 (age 48)
Risipeni, Soviet Union (now Moldova)
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party of Moldova (2012–2015)
Action and Solidarity Party (2016-present)
EducationAcademy of Economic Studies of Moldova
Academy of Public Administration
Harvard University

Maia Sandu (born 24 May 1972) is a Moldovan politician, the current leader of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), and former Prime Minister of Moldova (from 8 June 2019 until 14 November 2019).[1] On 12 November 2019, Maia Sandu's government fell after the vote of the censure motion. 63 (deputies from PSRM and PDM) of the 101 MPs voted the motion submitted by the PSRM.[2][3]

Sandu was Minister of Education from 2012 to 2015 and member of Parliament of Moldova from 2014 to 2015 and in 2019.[4][5][6] Sandu was selected as the joint candidate of the pro-European PPDA and PAS parties for President of Moldova in the 2016 election, however she was defeated in the subsequent runoff by the pro-Russian PSRM candidate, Igor Dodon, losing the popular vote by a margin of 48%-52%.[7][8]


Maia Sandu was born on 24 May 1972 in Risipeni, Fălești, in Soviet Moldavia. From 1989 to 1994, she majored in management at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova (ASEM). Then, from 1995 to 1998, she majored in international relations at the Academy of Public Administration (AAP) in Chișinău. In 2010, she graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Sandu speaks Russian, Spanish and English in addition to her native Romanian.


From 2010 to 2012, Sandu worked as Adviser to the Executive Director at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. From 2012 to 2015 she served as Minister of Education of Moldova. She was considered on 23 July 2015 by the Liberal Democratic Party as a nominee to be the next Prime Minister of Moldova, succeeding Natalia Gherman and Chiril Gaburici.[9]

Sandu at a meeting with Ovidiu Raețchi in January 2016

A day after being proposed by a renewed pro-European coalition, Sandu set the departure of the Head of the National Bank of Moldova, Dorin Drăguțanu and the State Prosecutor Corneliu Gurin as conditions for her acceptance of the office.[10] Ultimately, Valeriu Streleț was nominated over Sandu by the President of Moldova.

On December 23, 2015 she launched a platform „În /pas/ cu Maia Sandu” ("In step with Maia Sandu") that later became a political party called "Partidul Acțiune și Solidaritate" ("Party of Action and Solidarity").[11][12]

In 2016, Sandu was the pro-European candidate in the Moldovan presidential election. Running on a pro-EU action platform, she was one of the two candidates that reached the runoff of the election.[10]

According to some polls from 2019, Sandu ranks among the most trusted three politicians in Moldova.[13][14][15] The most recent available poll, conducted by Public Opinion Fund, shows that Sandu is the second most trusted political personality, polling at 24%, closely following Igor Dodon, who polls at 26%.[16] Other older polls, however, place her lower, in the 6th place.[17]

As Prime Minister

Sandu meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House, September 2019.

In the 2019 parliamentary election, Sandu's PAS together with its ally, PPDA led by Andrei Năstase formed the ACUM Electoral Bloc and secured 26 of the 101 seats in the Parliament of Moldova.[18] On 8 June 2019, Maia Sandu was elected Prime Minister of Moldova in a coalition government with PSRM.[19] On the same day, the Constitutional Court of Moldova declared unconstitutional her designation for this position as well as the appointment of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, which sparked the 2019 constitutional crisis.[20] However on 15 June 2019, the Constitutional Court revised and repealed its previous decisions declaring the Sandu Cabinet to have been constitutionally created.[21]

The next day, she called for the restoration of public order, discouraging citizens from attending local rallies.[22] In June 2019, she lifted a March 2017 ban by former Prime Minister Filip of official visits by government officials to Russia.[23] In one of her first interviews to foreign media, she announced her intention to request that the United States Treasury add Vlad Plahotniuc to the Magnitsky List.[24] In August, Sandu asked the State Chancellery to prepare a draft decree where 23 August was declared to be the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism instead of the regular Liberation Day. The decree was opposed by her coalition partner, the PSRM, with Moldova's President and ex-PSRM leader Igor Dodon announcing that he will celebrate the date in the old style, rejecting Sandu's proposal.[25]

Under Maia Sandu, Moldova began taking steps towards the European Union as Sandu herself is pro-European. Maia Sandu was ousted as prime minister on 12 November 2019, following a vote of no-confidence. She remained as a caretaker of the office until the formation of a new government.[26]

International trips as Prime Minister

Sandu with Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, July 2019.
Date Country City Source
2 July 2019  Romania Bucharest [27]
3-4 July 2019  Belgium Brussels [28]
11 July 2019  Ukraine Kyiv [29]
16 July 2019  Germany Berlin [30]
22 August 2019  Lithuania Vilnius [31]
11 September 2019  USA Washington D.C. [32][33][34]


In September 2016, Sandu instituted proceedings against the State Chancellery, requesting to be presented the shorthand from the Cabinet meeting where the state guarantees for the three bankrupted banks (Banca Socială, Unibank and Banca de Economii) had been approved.[35] Prime Minister Pavel Filip published on his Facebook page, the shorthand of the last Cabinet meeting, when the decision on granting the emergency credit for the Banca de Economii was adopted. The shorthand included the speeches of former NBM governor Dorin Drăguțanu, former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici, and Sandu's own speeches from the time as minister of education. It is mentioned that at the end the decision was voted unanimously. The shorthand was not signed.[36]

In 2016, within the debates for the presidential elections, Maia Sandu was asked by the socialist Ion Ceban if she voted for the airport concession at the Cabinet meeting of May 29, 2013. As a reply, Maia Sandu said that she did not attend the Government meeting in which the airport concession was voted. However, the socialists lifted the archive and obtained the video recording showing that Maia Sandu participated at the meeting and voted for the concession of Chișinău International Airport.[37]

Sandu declared about former leader of Romania Ion Antonescu in 2018 that he was "a historical figure about whom we may tell both good and bad things". Her statements were toughly criticized by the Jewish Community of Moldova (CERM), who issued an open letter stating: "The lack of sanctions for Holocaust denial and glorification of fascism in the Moldovan legislation allows some opinion leaders and political leaders to not be held accountable for such acts, and lets them create their public image by distorting and revising historical facts and fueling inter-ethnic and inter-religious discrimination and hate".[38][39]

In 2018, information surfaced in the Moldovan press according to which the Open Dialog Foundation covered the travel expenses of Sandu and PPDA leader Andrei Năstase when they attended a conference on human rights in Moldova that took place in Brussels.[40] Shortly after, the parliamentary investigation committee examined the alleged meddling in Moldovan internal affairs of the Open Dialog Foundation[41] and its leader, Lyudmyla Kozlovska,[42] and concluded: "PAS and PPDA and their leaders have benefited from illegal funds from the Open Dialog Foundation and did not report this financing accordingly".[43][44]

While serving as Minister of Education, Maia Sandu was accused of paying an exaggerated sum of money for 1,200 security cameras made in China for the baccalaureate exams. A charge has been issued against her, but was later dropped. The former prosecutor, Ivan Diacov, stated that Maia Sandu "postponed the tender three times, so that the tender would be won by the right bidder. I take responsibility for that. I closed this case".[45][46]

On 21 February 2019, Sandu and the candidates of the ACUM electoral bloc, both of the national and uninominal constituency, have signed the public commitment according to which after Parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019 they would not make any coalition with the Party of Socialists, Democratic Party and Shor Party, and if this commitment will be violated they resign from as MPs mandate.[47][48][49][50] She violated this self-imposed commitment after agreeing to form a coalition government along with the Party of Socialists in early June 2019.[51]


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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Pavel Filip
Prime Minister of Moldova
Succeeded by
Ion Chicu

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