CHISINAU, July 9./TASS/. The leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, has urged his supporters to get ready for mass protests following the Thursday’s decision by the Chisinau Appeals Chamber obliging the Central Election Commission to slash the number of polling stations in unrecognized Transnistria from 41 to 12.
"I appeal to my colleagues and supporters - be ready for mass protests within the next 24 hours. Possibly, already tomorrow we will head to the CEC and offices of the parties that want to restrict the right to vote," Dodon said.
The decision of the Appeals Chamber was voiced late on Thursday, while the early parliamentary elections are scheduled for July 11. Transnistria’s voters traditionally support the parties seeking stronger ties with Russia. Pro-Western parties demanded to reduce the number of polling stations for them, accusing of Party of Socialists of preparing vote rigging. The decision can be challenged at the Supreme Court of Justice.
Transnistria, a largely Russian-speaking region, broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its relations with Moldova’s central government in Chisinau have been highly mixed and extremely tense at times ever since then. In 1992 and 1993, tensions erupted into a bloody armed conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of people on both sides.
The fratricidal war was stopped after a peace agreement was signed in Moscow in 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict area. Negotiations on the conflict’s peace settlement known as the 5+2 format talks (involving Moldova and Transnistria as parties to the conflict, Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE as mediators and the United States and the European Union as observers) started after that.