Moldova goes to polls

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

CHISINAU: Ex-Soviet Moldova went to the polls yes­ter­day in its first pop­u­lar pres­i­den­tial elec­tion since the 1990s, seen as a tug-of-war be­tween sup­port­ers of closer re­la­tions with Rus­sia and those seek­ing EU in­te­gra­tion.

The cri­sis-hit coun­try of 3.5 mil­lion wedged be­tween Ukraine and Ro­ma­nia is the poor­est in Europe and has strug­gled with a string of high­pro­file cor­rup­tion scan­dals which are over­shad­ow­ing the vote.

Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are pre­sent­ing di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed vi­sions for the coun­try’s fu­ture: call­ing for deeper ties and boost­ing trade with Moscow, or com­mit­ting to the path to­wards Europe.

Vot­ing com­menced at 7am (1pm in Malaysia) at the nearly 2,000 polling sta­tions across the coun­try.

Moldova has been rocked by protests and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil since the mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance of US$1 bil­lion (RM4.2 bil­lion) from three banks last year, which un­der­mined peo­ple’s sup­port for the rul­ing pro-Western coali­tion.

Western ob­servers mon­i­tor­ing the cam­paign said in Septem­ber that Moldovans lack con­fi­dence in state au­thor­i­ties after the bank scan­dal, which led to the sus­pen­sion of EU aid that risks plung­ing the coun­try into even deeper poverty.

Al­ready 41% of the pop­u­la­tion live on less than US$5 a day while the monthly av­er­age salary is US$240, ac­cord­ing to World Bank fig­ures.

Moldova last elected a pres­i­dent by pop­u­lar vote in 1996, after which mem­bers of par­lia­ment chose the head of state. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.