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Presidential elections in Moldova

Pro-European Maia Sandu got the largest number of votes in the first round of Moldovas presidential election

Presidential elections in Moldova
Presidential elections in Moldova

, 02.11.2020, 13:50

Organised in special circumstances dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, Sundays presidential election in the Republic of Moldova, Romanias eastern neighbour and home to a sizeable Romanian-speaking population, brought a major surprise. The pro-Western Maia Sandu, a former prime minister running on behalf of Action and Solidarity Party in opposition, won the largest number of votes in the first round, coming out ahead of the incumbent president, the pro-Russian Igor Dodon by several percentage points.



Eight candidates were in the race, but none of them got 50% of the votes, so a second round will be held on November 15. So the results announced by the Central Electoral Commission point to a rerun of the ballot held 4 years ago, when the same Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu competed in the second round.



The former PM, who lobbies for closer ties with the European Union, won over voters by promoting the fight against corruption and accusing her challenger of having obstructed reforms in the judiciary.



In turn, the incumbent president promises to defend and strengthen Moldovas statehood and a balanced foreign policy in relation to Russia and the European Union. He said Sundays election was fair, free and democratic, although Maia Sandu spoke about election fraud attempts.



Ranking below were 2 candidates that are competing with Igor Dodon over Moldovas left-wing voters. The controversial mayor of Bălţi, Renato Usatyi, won around 17% of the votes, while Violeta Ivanov, backed by the hideaway businessman Ilan Shors party, got over 6%. The other 4 pro-European candidates, who are in favour of Moldovas uniting with Romania, only won a combined 8% of the votes.



A record large number of Moldovan citizens, 146,000, voted abroad this year. Of them, nearly 13,000 cast their ballots in the 13 polling stations opened in Romania. In the Republic of Moldova, the turnout was over 1,214,000, including 14,700 from Transdniester.



A number of incidents were reported in this breakaway region in the east, which has been technically outside Moldovan control since 1992, when an armed conflict killed hundreds of people and was ended by Russias troops moving in to support the separatists. The election day was marred by scandals and petitions filed by several candidates with respect to voters being bused to polls and vote buying in Transdniester. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)

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