Pro-Euro­pean can­di­date wins Moldova vote

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY COR­NELIU RUSNAC

A pro-Euro­pean Union can­di­date easily won the runoff vote for mayor of Moldova’s cap­i­tal and big­gest city Mon­day, in an elec­tion seen as a test of whether the for­mer Soviet re­pub­lic moves closer to the EU or to neigh­bor­ing Rus­sia.

With all the votes counted in Chisinau, in­cum­bent Dorin Chir­toaca had 53.54 per­cent of the vote from Sun­day’s bal­lot with pro-Rus­sian chal­lenger Zi­naida Gre­ceanai, a for­mer prime min­is­ter, trail­ing at 46.46 per­cent.

Moldova, which de­clared in­de­pen­dence in 1991 af­ter the Soviet Union broke up, is lo­cated be­tween Ro­ma­nia and Ukraine. Last year, it signed an as­so­ci­a­tion agree­ment with the 28-na­tion EU, an­ger­ing Rus­sia, which then banned some of its fruits and veg­eta­bles. That hurt the largely agri­cul­tural na­tion, one of Europe’s poor­est.

Chir­toaca’s vic­tory is a boost for Moldova’s pro-Euro­pean par­ties, who hold a slim mar­gin in Par­lia­ment and strug­gle to re­main united.

“I feel

like a new­born,” said the 38-year-old Chir­toaca. “Be­ing elected for a third time ... means trust, joy and grat­i­tude.”

Par­ties have said they will be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new gov­ern­ment af­ter the runoffs. For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Chiril Gaburici re­signed on June 12 amid a probe into the au­then­tic­ity of his high school diploma and univer­sity de­gree.

Fire­works ex­ploded in the cap­i­tal just be­fore mid­night when it looked like Chir­toaca would win another four-year man­date. He has been mayor of this city of 1 mil­lion since 2007.

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