The internationally unrecognised breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria voted for its president on Sunday.
Igor Smirnov, who has ruled the territory for the last 20 years, is running for a fifth term in office, and bills himself as the best candidate to secure the region’s independence. He said:
“We are noticing a growing understanding from our European observers and from the guarantee countries, but the main thing is that Moldova and Transdniestria are the ones which should negotiate.”
This year he faces tough competition as his opponent, Anatoly Kaminsky, is backed by the Kremlin and many voters hope in the future to forge closer ties with Russia.
The region, a ragged strip taking up most of Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine, has been in limbo ever since declaring its independence after a short war in 1992.
Euronew’s correspondent in Transdniestria says:
“This electoral process shows the unwillingness of Transdniestrian politicians, and part of its population, to accept the requests of the international community. The days ahead will be very difficult in order to reach an agreement with Moldova.”