The opposition candidate in Moldova is the projected winner of the runoff presidential election.
With almost all the vote counted by Sunday evening, pro-European Maia Sandu was leading with about 57% of the vote, compared to incumbent, pro-Russian president Igor Dodon’s 43%, according to results published on the Moldovan Central Election Commission website.
Sandu, 48, a former prime minister and a former World Bank employee, ran for Moldova’s top job with a pro-European political platform against a president who had promised to keep close ties with Moscow as a traditionally “strategic partner.”
Her supporters celebrated overnight in front of opposition headquarters in the center of the capital Chisinau and were chanting “President Maia Sandu” and “a country for young people.”
Dodon, 45, who was the economy minister under a communist government between 2006 and 2009, said he “voted for peace, social justice and Christian values.”
“We must maintain good relations with the European Union and with Russia,” Dodan said.
In the first round of voting on November 1, Sandu, the center-right politician caught the incumbent president by surprise, although she did not garner enough votes to avoid the runoff.
Moldova, a Soviet republic until 1991, with a population of a little more than 3.5 million, has long been divided between those who promote strong ties with the European Union and those who favor close relations with Moscow.
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