Maia Sandu, an economist with pro-western views, won Moldova’s presidential runoff election, defeating pro-Russian incumbent President Igor Dodon, according to preliminary results released Monday.
Sandu leads with 57% of the vote with nearly all the votes counted, according to data from the Central Election Commission. The election between the two candidates was viewed as a referendum on two staunchly opposed visions; while Sandu favored strengthening ties with the European Union and the United States, Dodon received support from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“People voted in very large numbers… they voted because they care, because they want their voices to be heard,” Sandu said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. “People want the ones in power to offer solutions to their problems,” she added.
Dodon conceded the race Monday, saying, “I call for calm and peace, absolutely no disturbances or protests, we must not allow any destabilization of the country,” he said, per the AP.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Moscow respects “the choice of the Moldovan people.”
“We know that Maia Sandu said she would work in the interests of the Moldovan people, and we’re convinced that building good and close relations, cooperation in all areas with our country, Russia, is in the interest of the Moldovan people,” he added while speaking to reporters.
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