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Moldovan Supreme Court Upholds Decision To Void Chisinau Mayoral Election Amid Protests

Moldovans protest outside the country's Supreme Court in Chisinau on June 25.
Moldovans protest outside the country's Supreme Court in Chisinau on June 25.

Moldova's Supreme Court has upheld a decision to invalidate mayoral election results in Chisinau that had shown a victory for a pro-Western candidate.

Protesters gathered outside the court in the capital to protest against the June 25 ruling, chanting "Revolution."

Moldovans have been protesting daily in Chisinau since a court on June 19 invalidated the results of last month’s election, citing violations by Andrei Nastase and the other candidate of the country's campaign laws.

The results of the June 3 runoff election had shown Nastase, an anticorruption activist and pro-EU politician, with 52.5 percent of the vote – enough to defeat Socialist Party candidate Ion Ceban, who has called for closer relations with Russia.

The initial court ruling voided the election results on the grounds that both candidates had addressed voters on social media on election day, after the legal end of campaigning.

An appeals court upheld the ruling on June 21, saying social media communications with voters illegally affected the outcome of the race.

Chisinau mayoral candidate Andrei Nastase (file photo)
Chisinau mayoral candidate Andrei Nastase (file photo)

Nastase claimed that the court decisions were politically motivated. He insisted that neither he nor Ceban campaigned about their political platforms on election day, saying they had merely called on voters to go out and cast their ballots.

Nastase and critics of the court rulings pointed out decisions by other European courts that a simple call to vote on election day does not constitute illegal campaigning.

The nullification of the Chisinau election has been criticized by the EU and the United States.

The Supreme Court's ruling is final and the mayoral post will be filled by an acting mayor until the next election in 2019, according to Moldova's laws.

Nastase called on his supporters to gather in front of the city hall in the morning of June 26 to vent anger over the decision.

With reporting by Reuters

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