How Moldova’s diaspora helped secure a win for the nation’s first woman president

In Moldova, poverty and corruption go hand in hand.

In 2016, a single act of bank fraud by a group of politicians known as the “theft of the century” led to $1 billion siphoned out of the country into offshore accounts — that’s 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. The country’s average household income over the past 10 years is just over $14,000 a year, causing a third of the nation’s workforce to leave and seek work abroad.

So when Maia Sandu, the recently elected first woman president, ran a campaign focused solely on addressing corruption, 93 percent of Moldovans abroad voted for her, bringing



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