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Communists Ahead In Race For Moldovan Capital

An election poster for Communist candidate Igor Dodon

An election poster for Communist candidate Igor Dodon

Preliminary results from local elections in Moldova show Communists leading in the race for political control of the capital, Chisinau.

The June 5 ballot was seen as a test of the pro-European alliance that came to power in November.

Authorities said that with almost 60 percent of the votes counted, Communist candidate Igor Dodon was leading at more than 52 percent while current pro-European Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca was second with just over 43 percent.

Final results were expected later in the day. A runoff will be held if no candidate wins more than 50 percent. Other preliminary results, however, show the alliance winning in 24 out of 32 districts in the nation of 4.1 million.

International observers said in a statement that the poll "largely" met OSCE and Council of Europe statndards, "in conditions conducive to a competitive campaign and offering voters a genuine choice."

compiled from agency reports