In the early 1990s, the Gagauz Yeri autonomous region was established in Moldova to safeguard the rights of the Gagauz minority. In 1994, Moldova passed the Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia, No. 344-XIII of 23 December 1994 (hereafter: “the Special Status Law” or “SSL”), which set out an administrative structure including a legislature, an executive branch headed by a Governor (the Bashkhan) and specific autonomous competencies for the region.
The Gagauzia autonomy is home to 155,646 people, in three cities and 23 communes. The autonomy has three official languages – Gagauz, Romanian and Russian, and has an agrarian economy, based mostly on viticulture. Main export products include wine, sunflower oil, non-alcoholic beverages, wool, leather and textiles, and the region exports 42% of its production to the EU.