Igor Dodon was sworn in as Moldova's new president on December 23, calling for unity in the divided country and pledging to maintain Moldova's neutrality.
The inaugural ceremony at the Palace of the Republic in Chisinau was attended by dignitaries from Russia, Belarus, Hungary and other European Union and former Soviet states.
Dodon addressed thousands of people who gathered outside the palace before he was sworn in, telling them he would be president of all Moldovans and pledging to unite a country divided after his narrow election.
"A union of both banks of the Dniester River is a primary objective of my tenure," he said. "I would like to address those who had voted for other parties: let's descend from the barricades and rally together for the sake of a better future. All of us -- the Moldovans, the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Gagauz, are all citizens of one country."
Dodon assured that Moldova would remain a neutral state, saying he has plans to visit Moscow next month and will travel to Brussels shortly afterwards.
"Neutrality is a something sacred, which no one can take away from us," he said. "We will build bridges to the East and to the West."