Monday, October 31, 2016

Moldova likely to hold runoff presidential election

Moldova may hold a runoff presidential election, as none of the candidates gained over 50 percent of the votes, after 90 percent of the votes were counted Sunday night.

According to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), Socialist leader Igor Dodon won 49.77 percent of the votes, while his rival Maia Sandu, leader of the Action and Solidarity Party got 36.93 percent.

At the same time, the CEC's head said that 1.433 million Moldovans voted in the elections and the voter turnout was 48.97 percent.

Moldova held direct presidential elections on Sunday, a change from the past 16 years during which the head of state was indirectly elected by the parliament.

Nine candidates competed in the presidential race, including three independent ones.

Under the country's constitution, if no candidate gets an absolute majority (50 percent plus one vote) of the electoral votes, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to a runoff two weeks after the initial ballot.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, is still shrouded in the shadow of a corruption scandal in which a total of 1 billion US dollars, or around 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product, disappeared from its banking system.

The scandal sparked large-scale protests last year, eroded the confidence in pro-European politicians and has partially contributed to the Socialists' gain in popularity.

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