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Moldovan Election Commission Confirms Court Ruling To Throw Out Mayoral Vote


The leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform, Andrei Nastase

Moldova's Central Election Commission has confirmed the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate the recent mayoral election in the capital, Chisinau.

The commission, whose June 29 session was held as groups of people were protesting against the invalidation of the poll, voted 5-2 to uphold the Supreme Court's ruling.

It also ruled that the election will not be repeated.

The June 3 runoff vote was won by pro-Western candidate Andrei Nastase, leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform.

Nastase took 52.5 percent of the vote in the June 3 runoff election, 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 for days, calling for Nastase's victory to be recognized, but an appeals court upheld the ruling on June 21.

WATCH: Moldovans Protest Mayoral Vote Annulment (from June 24)

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

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

Dozens of demonstrators, who had rallied outside the election commission headquarters since morning, continued their protest after the decision was announced.

A large protest rally against the invalidation of the poll is scheduled in Chisinau for July 1.

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

The U.S. State Department said in a June 28 statement that the invalidation represents a "threat to democracy" in the tcountry.

"The court's unusual and unwarranted decision thwarts the electoral will of the Moldovan people and damages respect for the rule of law and democratic principles in Moldova," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in the statement.

On June 25 in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told visiting Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip that elections "must reflect the will of the country’s citizens without political interference."

The European Union has also condemned the "nontransparent invalidation" of the mayoral election and said it "deprives the people of Chisinau of their democratically elected mayor."