CHISINAU, November 14 /TASS/. Moldova’s run-off presidential elections were well organized and fully compliant with the country’s laws, the Moldovan Ministry for Foreign Affairs and European Integration said in a statement released on Monday.
"Voting in Moldova’s runoff presidential elections was peaceful and well-organized. Law and order was observed even at polling stations where the turnout had exceeded capacity," the ministry said in the statement, which came in reaction to criticism by some candidates and international observers for the insufficient number of polling stations abroad.
In response, the Moldovan government said the country’s election code stipulated for two major requirements as far as the number of polling stations abroad is concerned: the number of previously registered voters and turnouts at previous elections.
The Moldovan government had set up 100 polling stations in foreign countries for this year’s presidential election. The biggest number of polling stations (25) opened in Italy where about 150,000 Moldovan labor migrants work. By comparison, only eight polling stations were open in Russia, which has from 500,000 to 800,000 migrants. It means that no more than 24,000 Moldovans could physically vote at the two Moscow polling stations. The figures in other foreign countries were: 11 polling stations in neighboring Romania, 7 voting centers in the United States and 6 - in France.
Monitors from the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly said on Monday that polling stations in Britain, Italy, Russia, Romania and France had closed ahead of schedule due to a lack of ballots.
"A huge number of people turned up at two polling stations in Moscow. Voters who had been standing in long lines were outraged when the polling stations closed, and consequently, vented their frustration on Moscow policemen who had to calm the people down," Alexey Sergeyev, Secretary General of the Council of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, told journalists in Chisinau. Many observers believe "the elections were fully compliant with international standards and Moldovan laws."
Alina Russu, the head of Moldova’s Central Electoral Commission, said that the voting in Moldova’s runoff elections had stirred up a lot of interest among Moldovan voters abroad. The turnout in foreign countries doubled surpassing 130,000 people. The biggest turnouts were registered in Italy (43,000 people); Romania (14,000 people) and Russia (8,000 people).
According to preliminary results announced by the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission, the pro-Russian candidate and leader of the Socialist Party of Moldova, Igor Dodon won 52% of the votes. His pro-European rival Maia Sandu, the leader of Moldova’s Liberal Action and Solidarity Party, lost the elections with 47% of the votes.