Pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova stages vote
Voters in Moldova's pro-Russian breakaway region of Transdniestr cast their ballots Sunday for a new president, in an election whose outcome will go unacknowledged internationally.
Turnout at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT) was 45.5 percent, according to election commission chief Elena Gorodetskaya, who was quoted by Russian news agencies. Polls are scheduled to close at 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).
Seven candidates are on the ballots, including current President Yevgeny Shevchuk, and parliament speaker Vadim Krasnoselski.
Transdniestr is a poverty-stricken strip of land bordering Ukraine with a population of about half a million, 180,000 of them Russian nationals.
It broke away from Romanian-speaking Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a brief civil war the following year.
It has never been recognised as an independent state by any United Nations member, including Russia.
After Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, Transdniestr repeatedly called on Moscow to acknowledge it as a state and absorb it into Russian territory.
Moscow maintains around 1,500 troops there, in defiance of Moldova’s wishes, and provides economic support. Several deals were signed in July 2014.