Moldovans go to the polls

Peter Spinella and Christian Thiele
·1-min read

Moldovans are at the polls in a presidential run-off election to decide between pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon and pro-EU rival Maia Sandu.

A former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe between Ukraine and EU state Romania, Moldova as long been divided between aspirations to more closely integrate with the European Union and loyalties to former ruler, Moscow.

Following the closing of polling stations in the evening, first results were expected to be announced late on Sunday night.

Dodon, 45, previously beat Sandu in a run-off in 2016 but came out slightly behind her in the first round of the 2020 vote earlier this month.

As president, Dodon has looked to Russia for support while Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has teetered near economic collapse in recent years.

Sandu, 48, served as prime minister for several months during Dodon's first term before being ousted in a vote of no-confidence.

She has presented further integration with the EU as way out of the economic crisis.

Sandu received 36.1 per cent of the votes in the election's first round on November 1, whereas Dodon received 32.6 per cent, according to the national electoral authority.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has independently observed the electoral process, expressed overall approval for the first round.

The campaigning was competitive, "fundamental freedoms were respected" and the electoral authorities "organised technical aspects of the election professionally," it said in an assessment.