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Hundreds Rally In Chisinau Demanding New Mayoral Election

Andrei Nastase (left) takes part in the demonstration on July 19.
Andrei Nastase (left) takes part in the demonstration on July 19.

CHISINAU -- Hundreds of opposition activists loudly protested in front of the Moldovan parliament building, demanding new mayoral elections in the capital, Chisinau.

Demonstrators from the Resistance Movement Now group blew whistles, pointed their thumbs down, and shouted at security forces guarding the building on July 19.

The opposition and civil society activists want electoral reforms, stronger action against corruption, and call for the judges who invalidated Chisinau's mayoral election results to be held accountable.

Several court decisions nullified the June mayoral election victory of Andrei Nastase, leader of the opposition Dignity and Truth Platform, known for his anticorruption campaigns and pro-Western stance.

Nastase took 52.5 percent of the vote in the June 3 runoff, defeating Socialist Party candidate Ion Ceban, who favors closer relations with Russia.

But a court on June 19 voided the results, saying that both candidates had used social media to call on voters to turn out on election day, which it ruled was illegal campaigning.

Thousands of Moldovans protested against the ruling for days, but an appeals court upheld the court decision on June 21.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal on June 25, ruling that social-media communications with voters illegally affected the outcome of the race.

The Central Election Commission on June 29 confirmed the court's decision and ruled that the election will not be repeated.

The decision to annul the local election was harshly criticized by both the European Union and the United States.

Under Moldovan law, the mayoral post is to be filled by the acting mayor until the next election in 2019.

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