Most of the world is probably rightly focused on the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump, but here in little old Moldova, Igor Dodon will officially become the president tomorrow (December 23).
In case you’ve never witnessed such a spectacle, here is what it takes to officially become the president of Moldova:
- Win the election.
- The Speaker of the Parliament hosts a joint session of both the Parliament and the Constitutional Court.
- The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court will announce the official results of the election.
- The president-elect takes the oath of office.
- The president then dons the official presidential sash.
- The new president gives a speech.
- The new president, along with the Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, then lay flowers at the base of the St. Stephen the Great monument.
- The new president then moves into the official residence.
Oaths and speeches are nothing new, but gosh I love the “donning of the sash” (Romanian: înmânarea Eşarfei prezidenţiale), and laying flowers at the foot of the monument of Stefan cel Mare si Sfant. Woah!
Yes, I get it that Saint Steven the Great/Stefan cel Mare si Sfant (ScMsS) was Moldova’s greatest hero, and he does appear on literally every denomination of the money, but the guy mostly ruled what is today Romanian Moldova. Indeed, his remains lie in the Putna Monastery west of Suceava in Romania. Sadly, this leaves the rulers of (the republic of) Moldova forced to offer up their flowers and love to a rather ugly statue that was carved in 1923. I don’t know how tall the statue is, but there is a far bigger statue of a Russian general here in town, so it’s altogether a rather pitiful homage to a man who truly was a great ruler.
Bonus: not mentioned in the official list above is the requirement that everyone taking the oath of office in Moldova has to kneel and kiss the flag. I swear to god, I’m not making that up.
You know, the longer I live here, the more I discover just how weird Moldova really is :)