Igor Dodon, Moldova`s pro-Russia Socialist Party leader, has claimed victory in the country`s presidential election over pro-European candidate Maia Sandu, according to Radio Liberty.
The Central Election Commission said early on November 14 that, with 99.9% of the ballots counted, Dodon was leading 52.29% to 47.71% for Sandu, the candidate from the Party for Action and Solidarity, RFE/RL wrote.
Dodon said at a press conference in Chisinau that ”we can say that we won” and promised to be a president for all Moldovans, both those that support joining the EU and those that want closer ties to Moscow.
He said Sandu had waged a ”tough but good fight” and asked her to help ”calm down” society.
Officials said about 53.3% of registered voters cast ballots on November 13.
But there were lines of Moldovans who were not able to vote at the country`s embassies and consulates in London, Bucharest, Bologna, Moscow, and other cities because election officials did not send enough ballot papers.
Sandu called on election officials to resign, claiming the elections had been poorly organized.
”Hundreds of people were not able to vote,” she said.
”Hundreds of citizens that traveled a long journey, that waited in the cold and rain and were not able to vote. Moldovan authorities didn`t respect the constitutional right of Moldovan citizens…to be able to vote.”
Despite the controversy, the margin of victory for Dodon appeared to be far larger than the number of Moldovans who were unable to vote at polling stations abroad – voters considered to be largely in favor of Sandu.
Sandu also complained about the high number of people who voted in the breakaway region of Transnistria, a very pro-Russia region, where a reported 9,000 people cast ballots.
People who live in Transnistria, which has proclaimed itself an independent country, don`t usually take part in Moldovan elections.
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Political analysts had predicted that, in the second round, Sandu needed to encourage a higher turnout from young pro-EU voters who did not cast ballots during the first-round vote on October 30.
They had estimated that turnout needed to be at least 54% on November 13 for Sandu to have any chance to win, and about 60% for her to have a strong chance of becoming the country`s next president.
The vote is the first since 1997 in which Moldova`s president is being elected by a national vote rather than by parliament.
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