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”Day of calm” is in Dniester republic on eve of presidential poll

December 24, 2011, 11:51 UTC+3

According to the commission chairman, the winner is determined by the majority of gained votes

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TIRASPOL, December 24 (Itar-Tass) — “The day of calm” set in on Saturday in the breakaway Dniester republic where the second round of the presidential elections will be held on Sunday. All political publicity is banned on this day, and voters can quietly think and decide whom of two candidates – former parliament speaker Yevgeny Shevchuk or present chairman of the Supreme Soviet (former parliament) Anatoly Kaminsky, they will trust the rule of the republic over the next five years.

The two collected the greatest number of votes (38.55 and 26.3 percent respectively) in the first round of elections which passed under conditions of intense competition struggle for the first time over the past years.

The bombshell of the first round held on December 11, was the loss of Igor Smirnov who ruled uninterruptedly the self-proclaimed republic since the time of its formation in 1990. He collected 24 percent of the vote and fell out of the race. Experts explain the setback by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Dniester residents want changes, supporting those candidates with whom they link their hopes for renovation, social and economic transformations.

The choice of people was also largely predetermined by the stand of the Russian leadership who recommended that the Tiraspol leader should not nominate his candidacy for the fifth time. At the same time, Moscow intimated that it is ready, in future too, to appropriate humanitarian aid to the Dniester region, to help with investments, but does not intend to sponsor Smirnov and his retinue.

The second difficulty in the elections lies in the fact that the Central Election Commission meets for the first time the procedure of holding a run-up: in the past Smirnov invariably overwhelmed weak opponents in the first round. “Although there is no such experience, all procedures are recorded in the law,” chairman of the Tiraspol territorial election commission Vladimir Tikhonchuk told reporters.

According to the commission chairman, there is no turnout threshold in the second round: the winner is determined by the majority of gained votes. “If the two get the same result, the winner will be the one who collected more votes in the first round. The elections will be announced invalid if most voters cast ballots against both candidates,” he specified.

Shevchuk and Kaminsky came from the Dniester city of Rybnitsa, the colleagues in parliamentary activities and headed at different times the largest regional party Renovation, enjoying the majority in the local parliament. However, Shevchuk left the speaker’s post in 2009, accusing authorities of corruption and inability to carry out social and economic changes.

In the opinion of experts, his success in the first round was predetermined mostly thanks to protest voting of the region’s citizens, tired of poverty, corruption and omnipotence of bureaucrats.

Experts believe that the run-off result will largely depend on whom Smirnov’s electorate will prefer.

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