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Moldova to choose between pro-Russia and pro-EU candidates

November 11, 2016, 13:10 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, seeking rapprochement with Russia is curently projected to get 49.8% of votes and win

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CHISINAU, November 11. /TASS/. The second round of presidential election will be held in Moldova on Sunday. Taking part in the presidential race are representatives of the opposition: leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, seeking rapprochement with Russia and single candidate of the pro-European forces, head of the Action and Solidarity Party and former Education Minister, Maida Sandu.

Candidates’ chances

According to a survey conducted in the run-up to the second round by Moldova’s Association of Sociologists and Demographics, the election will be won by the leader of the socialists supported by 49.8% of respondents, while 39.7% voiced support for his opponent. These data are close to the results of the first round, in which Dodon secured 47.98% (680,000) of votes, and Sandu got 38.71% (549,000) of votes.

"I am certain of victory," Dodon told TASS. "People are tired of the seven-year rule by the coalition of pro-European parties, which was marked by a drop in living standards, corruption and disregard of law. They want changes."

Dodon noted that, if elected, he "will pay his first visit to Moscow to initiate the development and signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Russia, which envisages economic, social and political cooperation, a common approach towards resolving the Transnistrian conflict and guarantees for Moldovan labor migrants in Russia."

Authorities support pro-European candidate

Meanwhile, Sandu promised to continue the policy of integration into the EU, which, in her view, was discredited by the current leadership. She is also committed to "bolstering ties with Romania, Ukraine and strategic partnership with the US." On the other hand, Sandu noted that Moldova should have "normal and conflict-free relations with Russia."

Sandu has been supported by leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform Party, Andrei Nastase, who was one of the initiators of anti-government protests last year, former Prime Minister and leader of the European People’s Party, Iurie Leanca, and leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, Marian Lupu, who withdrew from the presidential race a few days before the election "to make it easier for the candidate from pro-European forces to emerge victorious."

Election amid distrust in pro-European government

Over the past year, Moldova has been rocked by protests demanding the resignation of the coalition of pro-European parties that came to power in 2009. In spite of the fact that US Vice President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western leaders who visited Chisinau called Moldova a success story, the government’s approval rating has dropped substantially due to the economic crisis, falling living standards and corruption scandals. According to sociologists, more than 80% of Moldova’s citizens do not trust the current leadership, while the number of supporters of the government’s policy of European integration has dropped from 70% to 37% since 2010.

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