In the streets of Transdniestria there is a political vacuum. Election results have been delayed amid accusations of voting violations.
Igor Smirnov had been in charge of the Russian speaking region for more than 20 years. He was seeking a fifth straight term. One of his closest rivals says problems facing the country must be addressed.
“We will try to work out a clearer policy for Russia, Ukraine and European Union, in order to find the best possible way to solve all those problems which have been building for 21 years,” said Yevgeny Vasilyevich Shevchuck, presidential candidate.
Unrecognised internationally, Transdniestria has been in limbo since declaring independence and breaking with the Moldovan central government after a brief war in 1992.
Election results were due on Monday but the authorities have announced a two day delay, while Igor Smirnov’s camp has called for the ballot to be annulled. He stood for re-election against the wishes of his one time mentor, Moscow.
Analysts believe whoever wins in Tiraspol must strive for a closer relationship with Moldova, something which is wanted in Russia.
“It might be that we will assist to a kind of rapprochement between Chisinau and Tiraspol, because Russia really wants it right now in the context of its discussion with the European Union,” explained Radu Vrabie of the Association for Foreign Policy.
The results are now expected on Wednesday and will be watched closely within the region.
Our correspondent, Sergio Cantone said: “What’s happening seems like a regime change, with president Smirnov finally leaving power after nearly twenty years, in order to facilitate a solution to the old conflict between Moldova and Transdniestria. A regime change which the president himself sees as pushed from abroad, from the international community.”