restricted access Guiding Voice to Exit: Elections of Sitz-Chairman in Moldova, Inc.


This article analyzes the presidential elections in Moldova in the context of domestic developments in the country between 2015 and 2017. It looks at how the regime consolidated its power in 2015–2016 and the role elections played in this process. First, the article conceptualizes the regime as a dual state and shows the takeover of the prerogative and normative states by a single ruling faction. Second, it studies how the prerogative state uses elections and societal cleavages to control its (potential) opponents and society. In particular, unlike in other cases of autocratic backsliding, the regime used the presidential elections to channel away widespread dissatisfaction and reinstate a collective action problem in society. As a result, although there are potential triggers for regime change, the Moldovan elections further strengthened the foundations of a new political regime in Moldova.