Moldova: pro-Russian candidate leads ahead of runoff

Moldova: pro-Russian candidate leads ahead of runoff:

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Final results from the first round of Moldova’s presidential election show a pro-Russian front-runner with a strong lead over a pro-European candidate before the Nov. 13 runoff.

The Central Election Commission said Wednesday that Igor Dodon won 47.98 percent of the vote to Maia Sandu’s 38.71 percent in Sunday’s ballot, coming top in a field of nine. Both candidates tapped into widespread anger about high-level corruption. Dodon promises to restore ties with Russia, while ex-World Bank economist Sandu pledges to crack down on corruption.

Moldova’s president shapes the country’s foreign policy and appoints judges but major decisions need approval from Parliament, where pro-European politicians have a majority. However, this is the first time Moldovans have directly elected a president in 20 years, giving the post more authority and influence.

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