CHISINAU, Moldova – Near final results show a clear victory for a pro-Russian politician in a presidential race that many Moldovans hope will rekindle ties with Moscow.
With 99.9 percent of the votes counted early Monday, Igor Dodon won 52.3 percent of the vote, while Maia Sandu who ran on an anti-corruption ticket, had 47.7 percent.
Moldovans celebrated his victory with fireworks early Monday in the semi-autonomous Gagauzia region, where many ethnic Russians live.
Dodon promised he would be a president to all Moldovans. He tapped into popular anger over the approximately $1 billion that went missing from Moldovan banks before the 2014 parliamentary elections.
He wants to restore ties with Russia, which placed a trade embargo on Moldovan wine and fruit after it signed an association agreement with the European Union.