Transdnestr will on Sunday hold the second round of its presidential election to define the Moldovan breakaway republic’s leader for the next five years.
The ex-speaker of the Transdnestr parliament, Yevgeny Shevchuk, and Supreme Council Chairman Anatoly Kaminsky will face off in the runoff after taking 38.55 percent and 26.3 percent of the vote in the first round respectively.
Outgoing president Igor Smirnov garnered 24.66 percent of the vote. Election officials rejected his appeal to declare the vote invalid, saying there were no grounds to do so. Smirnov’s plans to seek a fifth consecutive presidential term had been opposed by the Kremlin.
The Russian-speaking region gained de facto independence from Moldova in 1992. A joint peacekeeping force of the Russian, Moldovan and Transdnestr contingents has been deployed in the area.
Transdnestr is seeking full independence, but Moldova says it is only prepared to allow autonomy.