Moldova split between EU and Russia

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Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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Partial election results show Moldova’s voters divided between parties that want to move closer to Europe and those who want to move back into Russia’s sphere of influence.

The parliamentary elections have taken on wider significance with the unrest in neighbouring Ukraine. Moldova, like Ukraine, has a pro-Russian separatist region in its east.

Early results showed pro-Russian parties with a strong lead, but as more votes were counted, the gap closed. With 52% of the vote counted, the pro-Europe parties were slightly ahead with about 42.5%, to 41% for the pro-Russian parties.

Parties need to get at least 6% to gain seats in the 101-member Parliament

The surprise leader was the strongly pro-Russian Socialists’ Party, which was in first place with 22.1%, according to partial results.

The impoverished former Soviet republic of fewer than four million people is torn between re-electing the current pro-European coalition and choosing parties that want closer economic ties with Moscow.

Russia placed an embargo on Moldovan fruit after the country signed a trade association agreement with the European Union in June.

At least 600,000 Moldovans work abroad, half in the EU and the rest in Russia.

Prime minister Iurie Leanca said he voted for a “European Moldova – for a Moldova with justice”.

“Everything … indicates that Moldova cannot exist without Europe,” he said.

The final turnout was 55.86% of the electorate, authorities said.

Four-fifths of Moldovans are of Romanian descent, but decades of Soviet rule have left a strong imprint. The Liberal Party campaigned under the slogan “No to the Russian boot, yes to the Romanian heart”, while pro-Russia parties received support from people angry with allegations of high-level corruption.

The leader of one of the pro-Russia Communist Party, Vladimir Voronin, said he was voting for Moldova to get rid of corruption and “the Mafia” which he claims prevents the country from developing.

Published: Monday 1st December 2014 by The News Editor

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