Sunday, October 30, 2016

Moldova heads to polls for first presidential election in 20 years

 Moldova is holding its first direct presidential election in 20 years, pitting those who want closer ties to Russia against those who want to form a stronger bond with the European Union.

Polls in Japan, one of 40 in foreign countries with residents eligible to vote in the election, had already closed by early afternoon, eastern time, on Sunday.

Moldovans are expected to vote in 33 foreign countries in addition to those voting from home, en.publika reported.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe and has been stung by a string of high profile corruption scandals in recent years. Since 1996, presidents in the former Soviet republic have been chosen by Parliament, BBC reported.

It was the pro-European coalition formed by Pavel Filip, who was appointed prime minister to Moldova in January, that re-established the popular vote.

The EU and Russia both seek greater influence over the country wedged between Ukraine and Romania. Polls, however, indicate voters are divided on which way to go for a better future.

Opinion polls show Pro-Moscow Socialist candidate, Igor Dodon, has been ahead. He has pledged to push for new parliamentary elections if he wins.

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