Election results from Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region show the head of the region’s self-styled parliament has won the presidency by easily winning more than 50 percent of the first round vote.
Officials from the unrecognized territory's self-styled Central Electoral Commission told the Russian TASS news agency on December 12 that Vadim Krasnoselsky had secured about 62 percent of the vote.
Election officials said his nearest rival, incumbent leader Yevegency Shevchuk, trailed with less than 28 percent of the vote.
The election commission said nearly 60 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the December 11 election.
It was not clear how many voters were eligible, but the region's population is about 500,000.
Karsnoselsky had resigned from his post heading the region's self-proclaimed legislature, the Supreme Council, in order to run for the presidency.
Krasnoselsky on December 12 said he would strengthen the unrecognized territory's strategic partnership with Russia and stabilize the economy.
He also said that his first foreign visit after taking office would be to Moscow.
Moldova has declared the election illegal in the separatist region that has had wide autonomy since declaring independence from Chisinau in 1990.
A brief war was fought between Moldovan forces and Transdniester separatists in 1992-1993, resulting in the deaths of several hundred people killed on both sides.
Diplomatic attempts led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to find a settlement to the frozen conflict have been unsuccessful.
Some 2,000 Russian troops have remained stationed in the predominantly Russian-speaking region since the early 1990s, despite repeated calls by Moldova's government for them to leave.
As Moldova's government has sought closer ties with the European Union in recent years, Moscow has made veiled threats to recognize Transdniester's independence.
The dispute has hobbled Moldova's economy, making the country one of Europe's poorest.
With additional reporting by TASS