CHISINAU, Moldova — Voters in Moldova cast ballots Sunday in a presidential election that is perceived as a referendum on two divergent visions for the future of the small Eastern European nation.

Eight candidates were vying in the race for the head of state post. The staunchly pro-Russia incumbent, President Igor Dodon, and a pro-Western former prime minister, Maia Sandu, were widely seen as the front-runners. However, neither appeared likely to secure enough votes for an outright victory, and the two are expected to face each other in a Nov. 15 runoff.

The first election results were expected overnight.

Dodon and Sandu had been rivals since he narrowly defeated her in the 2016 presidential race.

After voting Sunday, both said they wanted to lead impoverished Moldova to a long-elusive political stability and economic recovery.

Dodon, who was identified as the preferred candidate by Russian President Vladimir Putin, pointedly stressed that that goal depended on maintaining an “equilibrium” in relations with all its “foreign friends and partners.”

Ever since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1992, Moldova has been divided between those favoring closer relations with the European Union and those who prefer stronger links with Moscow.

In 2014, while run by a pro-European coalition, the country of 3.5 million people signed a deal on closer political and economic ties with the EU. However, Brussels has since been increasingly critical of its progress on reforms.

Sandu, a former World Bank economist, promised during the campaign to secure more financial support from Brussels if she becomes president.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Scores arrested in protest against Belarus’ president

KYIV, Ukraine — Hundreds of women calling for the authoritarian president to step down protested in Belarus’ capital on Saturday, continuing the large demonstrations that have rocked the country since early August. Police blocked off the center of Minsk and…

Officer may face charges in killing of autistic Palestinian

JERUSALEM — Israeli prosecutors on Wednesday recommended charging a police officer with reckless manslaughter in the deadly shooting of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City earlier this year. The decision came nearly five months after the shooting of…

Scientists are studying poop to understand how COVID-19 spreads

LONDON — Poop doesn’t lie. That’s why scientists are looking at sewers running under the world’s cities and towns for information they hope will help to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Sewers are treasure troves of information, containing genetic…

EU states want Brussels to suspend refunds for cancelled flights law

A dozen EU states will today call on Brussels to temporarily suspend a European law granting refunds for cancelled flights, Euronews understands. France and the Netherlands will spearhead the push, which is expected to come during a meeting of European…