Europe

Moldovans elect president for 1st time in 20 years

  • In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a woman walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)

    In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a woman walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a woman walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)

    In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a woman walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a man walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)

    In this picture taken Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, a man walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova. Moldovans will vote for a president Sunday for the first time in 20 years in an election which could move the former Soviet republic closer to Europe or rekindle the nation's old ties with Moscow as both Russia and the West seek greater influence over the strategically placed country of 4 million which signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014.(AP Photo/Roveliu Buga)  (The Associated Press)

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.