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Thousands take part in anti-government protest in Moldova

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita attends a news conference after the donor conference for Moldova to assist the country with the influx of Ukrainian refugees, in Berlin, Germany, April 5, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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CHISINAU, Sept 18 (Reuters) – At least 5,000 people rallied in Moldova’s capital on Sunday, demanding the resignation of the government and pro-Western President Maia Sandu, blaming them for high inflation and rising energy prices.

Moldova buys its gas from the Russian gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) under a contract that was drawn up last year. The price fluctuates monthly and is calculated from the spot price for gas and oil depending on the season. Spot prices have soared this year.

“Moldova is now in clinical death, to which the current authorities have brought it,” said Dinu Turcanu, a politician from an opposition party of Ilan Shor, a businessman convicted of fraud in connection with a $1 billion bank scandal.

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Moldova, the smallest post-Soviet state of 3.5 million people, is experiencing serious economic difficulties associated with high energy prices, the cost of which has increased by 29% in September after surging almost 50% in August.

The country has slashed its growth estimate to zero for 2022, hurt by record high inflation at 34.3% and interest rates at 21.5%.

Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said this month that Moldova’s economy was expected to post moderate growth of 1.5% next year.

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Reporting by Alexander Tanas, writing by Pavel Polityuk; editing by David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/thousands-take-part-anti-government-protest-moldova-2022-09-18/

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