Moldova presidential election looks set for runoff

October 31, 2016 10:00 am

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in the Scoreni Village, Moldova, October 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The presidential election in Moldova will most likely go to a second round as neither of the two candidates has gained the required 51 percent of the votes to avoid a runoff.
With 99.5 percent of the votes from the first round counted, results showed that pro-Russia candidate Igor Dodon had won 48.5 percent, and his main pro- contender, Maia Sandu, 38.2 percent.
The Central Election Commission will announce the final results of the first round within the next five days. A runoff is automatically scheduled for November 13 if the required threshold is not reached by the candidates.

Pro-Russia Moldovan presidential candidate Igor Dodon gives a press conference in Chisinau, Moldova, October 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Dodon is the leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova and seeks to reverse the country’s course toward the European Union (EU).
If elected, Dodon plans to call a referendum to end a political and trade agreement signed by the Moldovan government with the EU in 2014 and to have the country join a Eurasian Customs Union dominated by Russia.
On the other hand, Sandu, an economist and a former minister of education, is in favor of keeping the status quo, namely closer relations with the EU.

Presidential candidate Maia Sandu, who favors closer ties with the EU, addresses a press conference in Chisinau, Moldova, October 30, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Pro-EU Prime Minister Pavel Filip said in a statement after the announcement of the early results on Monday that, “I hope that the results of today’s vote and of the November 13 runoff will bring about both change and stability: change by the election by popular vote of a pro-European president; stability in the functioning of a reform-driven triangle — president, government, parliament.”
A scam, then a shift back toward Russia
However, people in Moldova seem to want a greater shift, almost a turnaround, in the political leadership of the country, a former Soviet republic.
Political crisis hit the country of 3.5 million back in 2015 when it was disclosed that one billion dollars had disappeared from the banking system.
The government implicated Former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who appeared handcuffed on live TV and who was later jailed.
Nevertheless, many Moldovans believe other members of the pro-EU elite were complicit in the scam, and seem to be punishing the incumbent leadership in the polls.
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