Moldova election: Pro-EU candidate Sandu leads in preliminary results
Opposition candidate Maia Sandu holds a narrow lead over current leader Igor Dodon in Sunday’s presidential run-off election in Moldova, preliminary results say.
With 94% of the vote counted, Ms Sandu is ahead with about 52% to President Dodon’s 48%.
Ms Sandu, a former World Bank economist, favours closer ties with the EU.
President Dodon, meanwhile, is openly backed by Russia.
Ms Sandu won the first round of voting two weeks ago thanks to a late surge is support from Moldovans living abroad but failed to secure enough votes for an outright victory.
As of Sunday evening, more than 1.6 million people – almost 53% of the population with the right to vote – were confirmed to have taken part in the run-off ballot, and that number was continuing to rise as votes from abroad kept coming in. Of those participants recorded so far, about 54% were women and 46% men.
Polling stations closed at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT).
Voters had been able to cast their ballots in more than 2,000 polling stations, including those available for Moldovans living abroad, the central election commission said.
Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest nations and has suffered a sharp economic downturn during the coronavirus pandemic.
After casting her vote in the capital, Chisinau, on Sunday, Ms Sandu called for “maximum vigilance” against possible fraud. She has pledged to fight corruption in the former Soviet republic.
Meanwhile, Mr Dodon, said he had voted “for friendship with the European Union, and the Russian Federation, and Romania, and Ukraine – for balanced foreign policy”.