Moldova faces presidential runoff

Moscow-friendly Socialist Igor Dodon on Sunday garnered nearly 49 percent of the vote in Moldova’s first direct presidential election in decades, according to official preliminary results.

Voter turnout was 48.92 percent, reported the electoral commission after polling booths closed at 9:00 p.m. (1900 UTC).

“This day is important for Moldova. It will be a new beginning. I voted against those who have been in power for seven years, against the oligarchs and the looting of the banking system,” Dodon said prior to Sunday’s results.

His main rival is former Education Minister Maia Sandu, an ex-World Bank economist. Sandu picked up more than 38 percent of the vote, pitting her against Dodon in the runoff.

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(Photo, of a November 2014 meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin, Moldovan former prime minister Zinaida Greceanii and Dodon: