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Moldova's opposition candidate drops out of presidential race

October 26, 2016, 19:18 UTC+3 CHISINAU

"Moldova should keep up its pro-European course and that's why I'm taking off my candidacy in favor of a pro-European candidate," says chairman of Moldova's ruling Democratic Party, Marian Lupu

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CHISINAU, October 26. /TASS/. Chairman of Moldova's ruling Democratic Party, Marian Lupu said on Wednesday he was withdrawing from the presidential election scheduled for Sunday. He said it at a news briefing that he addressed together with the party's deputy chairman Vladimir Plahotniuc, who declared earlier he was a coordinator of the coalition of Moldova's pro-EU parties.

"Moldova should keep up its pro-European course and that's why I'm taking off my candidacy in favor of a pro-European candidate," Lupu said, adding that the party's political bureau has taken an appropriate decision earlier on Wednesday.

Plahotniuc said on his part the decision was based on the results of opinions polls that gave the lead in the popularity rankings on the pro-European flank to Maia Sandu, the leader of the Party for Action and Solidarity.

"The decision may look quite shocking but it's the only logical one for us from the position of the country's interests," Plahotniuc said.

An opinion poll taken by the Germany-based Konrad Adenauer foundation last week showed that the leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Igor Dodon who supports strategic partnership with Russia was leading in the race, with 32.9% voters ready to vote for him.

As many as 14.3% respondents said they were prepared to vote for Sandu. Marian Lupu was number three on the list with 12.9% and the leader of the opposition Platform for Dignity and Truth, Andrei Nastase, occupied the fourth position with 12.4%.

Nastase gained popularity by organizing mass protests in Chisinau against the corrupt state power. He also withdrew from the race last week in Sandu's favor.

Moldovan media wrote his decision had been taken under the U.S. and EU pressure, as the West is not interested in Igor Dodon's victory, since he speaks out in favor of rebuilding of relations with Russia.

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