Preliminary results from the presidential run-off in Moldova’s rebel Transdniestria region show a convincing victory for challenger Yevgeny Shevchuk.
The former parliamentary speaker, who has campaigned to fight corruption in an area known for organised crime, won nearly 74 per cent of the vote. He beat Moscow-backed Anatoly Kaminsky, who polled under 20 per cent.
President Igor Smirnov, who took power in the mainly Russian-speaking region after the break-up of the Soviet Union, dropped out after the first round.
Transdniestria is not recognised internationally and relies on Russian support.
Shevchuk has not spoken in favour of rejoining Romanian-speaking Moldova but has called for compromise solutions.