CHISINAU, MOLDOVA - Moldova's electoral campaign has begun ahead of parliamentary elections, amid concerns that Russia is seeking to influence the results in the former Soviet republic.
The campaign began Monday in the February 24 ballot for the 101-seat legislature currently controlled by a broadly pro-European coalition.
Concerns in Moldova arose after Russia's Interior Ministry on December 3 said that Moldovans who have overstayed their residence permits in Russia can return to Moldova from January 1 to February 25 without being penalized.
The ministry said Moldova's pro-Russian President Igor Dodon had requested the measure.
Dodon says there are 160,000 Moldovans whose residence permits have expired. Moldovans who live in Russia are believed to generally support the pro-Russian Socialists' Party.
Last week Premier Pavel Filip said the development could be “considered an intervention” by Russia in the campaign.