17:15 Oct. 28, 2016
The nation is readying for upcoming Presidential election on Sunday
Pro-EU and pro-Russia candidates are locked together in Moldova as the nation prepares to elect the next President this Sunday, October 30.
As nine candidates are bracing for the fateful day, the completion is going high between the two primary opponents - former Education Minister Maia Sandu from the liberal Action and Solidarity Party, and the leader of the Party of Socialists Igor Dodon, ex-Economy Minister.
Mr. Dodon's name has raised strong concern in the neighboring Ukraine due to his latest controversial statement. When asked ‘Whom does Crimea belong to?' he answered ‘The Russian Federation'.
Later, though, Mr. Dodon corrected his opinion out of fears that it could have a negative impact on Transnistria, the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republic within Moldova.
‘If we recognize Crimea, won't somebody then recognize Transnistria? Let's put it this way: politician Igor Dodon considers Crimea de-facto Russia', the candidate said.
Analysts in Moldova predict the election won't be decided straight away and the country will see the second round.
‘I think that the anti-oligarchy element of the election campaign will escalate and Igor Dodon will have to fend off the accusations that he is himself a representative of the oligarchic class', local political expert Anatol Taranu said, according to local news agency Point.
According to the preliminary survey, conducted by the Institute for Public Policies of Moldova in October, Dodon has a bigger chance to win, as he is supported by roughly 27 percent of voters, compared to Sandu's 9.3 percent.
Sandu, however, may be able to stand her ground after two other candidates, the potential runner-up Andrei Nastase (8.1 percent) and former acting President Marian Lupu (7.5 ercent) said they supported Sandu.
Lupu even decided to withdraw his candidacy on Wednesday, to avoid the split in support of pro-EU voters.
‘The rivalry is going on between the two oppositions, that are sitting on two different geopolitical poles. That's why in addition to the anti-oligarchy, geopolitical accent will become an important topic of the election campaign', Taranu said.
He called the election a battle between Moldova's civilizational choice between the West and the East.