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Russia-Friendly, Pro-European Moldovan Candidates Face Off In Chisinau Runoff

Mayoral candidates Ion Ceban (left) and Andrei Nastase
Mayoral candidates Ion Ceban (left) and Andrei Nastase

Voters in Moldova’s capital are heading to the polls on June 3 for the second round of a snap mayoral election that is seen as a test for the country’s political parties ahead of parliamentary polls later this year.

The candidate of the Moscow-friendly Socialist Party, Ion Ceban, and Andrei Nastase from the pro-European party Dignity and Truth Platform (DA) are facing off in Chisinau.

Ceban won the first round on May 20 with nearly 41 percent of vote, while Nastase obtained just over 32 percent, election authorities said.

The turnout was 35.5 percent.

Early mayoral elections were also held in Moldova's second-largest city, Balti, where Nicolai Grigorisin, the candidate of the pro-Russia Our Party, won in the first round with 61 percent of the vote.

The snap elections to elect the mayors of Chisinau and Balti for one year were called after the mayor of Chisinau, Dorin Chirtoaca, from the pro-European Liberal Party, and Balti Mayor Renato Usatii, the Our Party founder and leader, resigned to protest against criminal cases against them, which they say are politically motivated.