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Ruling Communists Win Moldovan Municipal Vote

Voters studying the ballot in Chisinau on June 3 (OSCE) June 4, 2007 -- Moldova's ruling Communist Party has won a majority of the vote in municipal elections held on June 3 across the country.

The opposition Our Moldova bloc came second, followed by the Liberal Party in voting for some 900 mayors and 12,000 local councilors.

But in the capital, Chisinau, none of the 18 candidates for mayor won more than 50 percent of the vote. A runoff is scheduled for June 27 between the top two candidates, the Communists' Veaceslav Iordan and the Liberal Party's Dorin Chirtoaca.

Voters living in the pro-Russian separatist region of Transdniester did not take part in the ballot because the region's leaders do not recognize Moldova's authority in the area.

The vote was seen as a midterm electoral test for the Communists, who won the general election in 2005.

The big prize in the poll is Chisinau, where the Communist candidate was seen as a favorite to win the post of mayor for the first time, although not from the first round.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said today the vote was on the whole well-administered, despite a number of violations, including intimidation of candidates.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, AP,