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Six candidates to run in Dniester region’s presidential race Sunday

December 11, 2011, 1:08 UTC+3

The leader of the Communist Party, Oleg Khorzhan, the head of Proryv movement, Dmitry Soin, and political scientist Andrei Safonov will compete with them in the race

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TIRASPOL, December 11 (Itar-Tass) — Six presidential candidates will run in the presidential race in the Dniester region on Sunday.

Sociologists name only three contenders as favourites – Igor Smirnov, who has been ruling the unrecognized republic since its creation in 1990, Anatoly Kaminsky, the chairman of the Supreme Council and leader of Renovation party, and Yevgeny Shevchuk, the former parliamentary speaker.

The leader of the Communist Party, Oleg Khorzhan, the head of Proryv (Breakthrough) movement, Dmitry Soin, and political scientist Andrei Safonov will compete with them in the race.

According to public opinion polls, none of the three election favourites will get 50 percent to win in the first round. Sociologists forecasts that the run-off election will take place on December 25.

The election campaign was the most intense for the whole history of the Dniester region. Tensions emerged last summer, when the republic’s parliament restricted the president’s power by only two terms. However, Smirnov announced that these amendments have no retroactive force and will not spread on the previous four terms he had served.

“It is necessary to recognize that we have not ever had such an election campaign,” presidential candidate Yevgeny Shevchuk told Itar-Tass. “On the one hand, it was marked by competitiveness and on the other hand, by unprecedented attack of smear campaigns.”

He expressed an opinion that this can provoke a record high voter turnout.

According to sociologists, almost three fourth of the Dniester region’s residents plan to cast their ballots. The election will be announced valid, if no less than 50 percent of voters go to the polling stations.

The preliminary results of the voting that, as some experts believe, will become a sort of a test for compliance with the democratic values will become known in the morning on December 12. On the same day observers will express their opinion on the election’s legitimacy. Russia’s Public Chamber and several political parties sent their observers to monitor the election in the breakaway region.

Almost 1,500 mass media representatives had been accredited to cover the election race on Sunday. A total of 27 different organizations expressed their intention to monitor the election.

“We represent different countries, hold different political views, therefore we hope to draw an independent, unbiased and impartial picture of the presidential election in the Dniester region,” said the director of the European Centre of Geopolitical Analysis, Polish parliamentarian Mateusz Piskorski.

He noted that international observers from Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Belgium and Belarus plan to visit every candidate’s election campaign headquarters and polling stations all over the republic and make their report on the ballot casting.

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