Moldova’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced early Monday that the opposition leader won more votes than the incumbent president in the presidential election, but not enough to avoid a run-off.
The CEC said that with almost all ballots counted, former Prime Minister Maia Sandu had 36.10% of the vote, while President Igor Dodon had 32.66%.
The second round of voting is scheduled for November 15.
Sandu ran for Moldova’s top job on a pro-European political platform against a president who had promised to keep close ties with Moscow.
Dodon who was the economy minister under a Communist government between 2006 and 2009, had also said that the Russian language should become mandatory in schools in Moldova.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic until 1991, with a small population of little more than 3.5 million people, has long been divided between those who promote strong ties with the European Union and those who favor close relations with Moscow.
Situated between Ukraine and Romania, the country’s main language is Romanian, and its culture heritage is closely linked with that of Romania.