Hundreds Protest In Moldova Against New Electoral Law

Hundreds of people have marched in Moldova's capital to protest against a controversial new electoral law.

Participants at the September 17 rally in Chisinau were waving flags of Moldova and the European Union.

Some of them condemned the country’s Russia-friendly president, Igor Dodon, for "selling the country to Moscow."

The demonstration was organized by two opposition parties: the Dignity and Truth Platform and the Party of Action and Solidarity.

The bill introducing a mixed electoral system was approved by lawmakers and signed into law by Dodon in July despite mass protests in Chisinau and criticism from the EU and the United States.

The new legislation provides for half of the lawmakers to be elected on party lists and another half in individual constituencies.

Critics say the electoral changes favor the country's two largest political parties -- the ruling pro-Western Democratic Party and the opposition pro-Russian Socialists. They say the Democratic Party initiated the changes in an effort to do better in the 2018 parliamentary elections amid declining popularity.

However, supporters say the changes will make politicians more accountable.

Moldova has had three governments since 2015, after the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system sent the country into a political and economic crisis.