World Bulletin / News Desk
Ex-Soviet Moldova went to the polls Sunday in its first popular presidential election since the 1990s, seen as a tug-of-war between supporters of closer relations with Russia and those seeking EU integration.
Presidential candidates are presenting diametrically opposed visions for the country's future: calling for deeper ties and boosting trade with Moscow, or committing to the path toward Europe.
Voters are leaning in opposite directions as well.
"We can't be without Russia, that's our export market" that could provide cheap gas, said Igor Lopukhov, 66, a Russian-speaking pensioner who voted for Socialist Party candidate Igor Dodon, a leader in opinion polls who has vowed to restore cooperation Moscow.
Dodon's main rival in the polls is former education minister and proponent of EU integration Maya Sandu, who is supported by younger Western-leaning Moldovans.
"We have to build Europe at home," said Ion Lupusor, a 27-year-old who had studied in Europe before going back to his home country.
"If we don't vote, pensioners will decide the country's development, and they vote for going 'Back to USSR'," he said.
Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2016, 15:57