Pro-EU candidate leads Moldova vote

Published: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A pro-EU candidate was close to securing victory in a vote for mayor of Moldova’s biggest city, in an election seen as a test of whether the former Soviet republic moves closer to Europe or Russia.

With over 99% of the votes counted, incumbent Dorin Chirtoaca had 53.44% of the vote in the capital Chisinau, with pro-Russian challenger Zinaida Greceanai, a former prime minister, trailing at 46.56%.

Moldova, which declared independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union broke up, is located between Romania and Ukraine.

Last year, it signed an association agreement with the 28-nation EU, angering Russia, which then banned some of its fruits and vegetables. That hurt the largely agricultural nation, one of Europe’s poorest.

A victory for Mr Chirtoaca would boost Moldova’s pro-European parties, who hold a slim majority in parliament and struggle to remain united.

Fireworks exploded in the capital when it looked like Mr Chirtoaca would win another four-year mandate. He has been mayor since 2007 of the city of 1 million.

Earlier, the 38-year-old said he was confident of victory because votes from the suburbs which are traditionally pro-European had not come in yet.

“I hope we will clarify things … and build something that is certain, definitive, irreversible, for the future of Chisinau and Moldova,” he said after voting.

Ms Greceanai, 59, is a former member of the Communist Party who later joined the pro-Moscow Socialists’ Party.

She thanked her voters and said she would continue to fight for the interests of Chisinau residents, without formally acknowledging defeat.

However, leader of the Socialists’ Party, Igor Dodon, claimed the ballot was flawed by irregularities. He said the pro-Europeans were celebrating too soon, and that they did not recognise the result of the elections.

Published: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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