Moldovans have begun voting for a president in an election that could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or push it back into Russia's orbit.

It is the first time citizens have directly voted for their president in 20 years in an election where many are angry about high-level corruption.

Polls opened Sunday at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m., with first results expected two hours later.

The favorite is Igor Dodon, a pro-Moscow head of the Socialists' Party who has tapped into widespread dissatisfaction with the pro-European government.

Ex-World Bank economist Maia Sandu is the preferred option for those who want Moldova to join the European mainstream.

If no candidate wins a majority, there will be a runoff on Nov. 13.