MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Igor Dodon, the Socialist Party candidate at Moldovan presidential elections, retains the advantage over the main opponent but hovers below the 50 percent plus one vote threshold required to win the elections, as 98.32 percent of all the ballots have been counted, according to the Moldova's Central Election Commission.
"The Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon received 48.71 percent (674,736 votes). and his runner-up, Action and Solidarity Party’s Maia Sandu, [gets] 37.94 percent (525,571 votes)," the statement at the CEC website said.
A total of 1,981 polling stations were opened in Moldova and 100 more – abroad, including 25 in Italy, 11 in Romania, eight in Russia and two in Ukraine.
In March, the constitutional court ruled that Moldova's president should be elected by popular vote for the first time since 1996, replacing the system that had the parliament pick the nation's leader. Nine candidates are seeking the presidency. According to political analysts, the major candidates are the Socialist Party’s Igor Dodon, who is a supporters of stronger ties with Russia, and pro-European Action and Solidarity Party’s Maia Sandu. If no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round, there will be a runoff on November 13.