CHISINAU -- The Communist Party contender for the key job of mayor of the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, says he will not recognize his defeat to a pro-Western candidate in the June 19 runoff election and will fight against it using "all legal means," RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
According to preliminary results the liberal incumbent, Dorin Chirtoaca, won the race with 50.6 percent of the vote, against 49.4 percent for his Communist Party challenger Igor Dodon.
But Dodon today said the difference was so narrow and the "frauds" so numerous that he and his party had no choice but to contest the result.
Dodon won the first round of voting on June 5 and was leading in the vote count on June 19, but with all votes counted this morning the Central Elections Commission said Chirtoaca had won.
It is now likely that Dodon will ask for a recount once the preliminary results become official within the next day or so.
The results of the first round of voting for Chisinau's city council are also fiercely contested.
On June 5 it was the opposition communists who won a majority of 26 seats in the 51-member council, but the pro-Western ruling alliance has already asked for a recount, which was approved on June 17 by a Court of Appeals.
The hotly contested race for the Chisinau city hall mirrors a tense political situation in parliament, where the Communists have had enough votes to block repeatedly the ruling alliance's attempts to elect a chief of state.
Moldova has been without a president for two years and the standoff has led to two rounds of early national elections over the same period.