Presidential elections take place in Moldova

Source : 112 Ukraine

Preliminary results will be released on Monday
16:15, 30 October 2016

112 Agency

Moldova chooses new president today, on October 30, reports Reuters.

Socialist Igor Dodon, who wants to reverse Moldova's course towards European integration, leads opinion poll. His closest challenger is pro-European candidate Maia Sandu, a former World Bank economist and education minister, who has warned against allowing the country, which relies heavily on energy supplies from Russia, to fall back into Moscow's orbit.

If he wins, Dodon wants to call a referendum to extricate Moldova from a political and trade agreement signed with the EU in 2014 and join a Eurasian Customs Union dominated by Moscow, turning back the clock on years of closer ties with the West.

That would play into the hands of Russia in its tussle for influence over eastern European states, including Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

The final days of the campaign have bordered on farce. Sandu and Dodon each accused the other of being in the pocket of Vlad Plahotniuc, the country's most powerful businessman, who critics say wields an outsize influence on Moldovan politics.

The ruling Democratic party's candidate, Marian Lupu, bowed out of the race on Wednesday, saying he wanted to improve the chances of keeping Moldova on a pro-European path. But Sandu said the move was a ploy to boost Dodon's chances.

Related: Ukrzaliznytsia announced completion of Beskydy tunnel construction

Related: Second round of parliamentary elections takes place in Georgia

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