Pro-European candidate wins first round of Moldova's election

Photo: EPA Maia Sandu

The leader of the Action and Solidarity Party, Maia Sandu won the first round of the presidential election in Moldova on Sunday. The pro-European centre-right candidate came out on top with 36.1% of the vote, announced Moldova’s Central Electoral Commission on Monday morning, with 99.81% of the ballots counted.

Incumbent pro-Russian president Igor Dodon was in second place with 32.66% and the leader of the Our Party, the mayor of the city of Balti, Renato Usatii, on 16.91%. The Sor Party’s candidate, Violeta Ivanov, scored 6.5% and placed fourth, according to preliminary data presented by the Central Electoral Commission.

Sandu was backed by about 70% of Moldovans who voted abroad. “People in the diaspora, you have been truly amazing. It is an extraordinary mobilization that inspires us all,” Sandu said on Sunday. About one million Moldovans live abroad, split between Europe and Russia. On Sunday night, 100-metre queues formed in some European capitals as Moldovans went to cast their ballots.

However, Sandu reported several violations detected by the party’s poll observers, including the organised transportation of voters.“So far, we have submitted over 300 complaints to the police,” she said.

The second round of the presidential election, a run-off between Sandu and Dodon, is scheduled for 15 November.

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