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Moldova torn between Russia and West in election runoff

Large diaspora could play a key-role

13 November, 11:06
(ANSA-AFP) - CHISINAU, 13 NOV - Moldova heads to the polls Sunday for the second round of a tightly-contested presidential election pitting a pro-European challenger against the country's Moscow-backed incumbent. The tiny ex-Soviet nation votes under the watchful eye of Russia, which wants polarised Moldova to remain in its sphere of influence as several Kremlin-aligned governments are rocked by political unrest. In the first round vote earlier this month, pro-European Maia Sandu -- a 48-year-old centre-right politician -- won a surprise victory.

Sandu, who worked for the World Bank and briefly served as prime minister, won over 36 percent of the vote against pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon's 33 percent. Polls published in the run-up to Sunday's vote showed the two candidates in a tight race once again. Analysts said that Sandu topped the first round vote thanks to unprecedented support from Moldova's large diaspora and that voters abroad would play a key role Sunday too.


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