Transdniestr presidential poll heading for upset

Transdniestr presidentyial hopeful Yevgeniy Shevchuk / RT image
Preliminary results from the breakaway territory show that the former parliamentary chairman Yevgeniy Shevchuk is winning the presidential elections in Transdniestr while incumbent President Igor Smirnov is unlikely to reach the second round.

­Shevchuk’s election headquarters said on Monday morning that the ex-speaker was getting about 38 percent of the votes, while the Supreme Soviet chairman Anatoliy Kaminskiy was getting almost 30 percent. Meanwhile, incumbent President Igor Smirnov was reportedly getting just 24 percent of the votes, which means he will be unqualified to participate in the second round of elections that must take place two weeks after the first round.

At the same time, the Transdniestr Central Elections Commission on Monday afternoon said it was postponing the announcement of election results due to widespread violations. The officials said that every one of three leading candidates have filed in complaints about his competitors’ behavior and the commission needed more time to process the reports.

The results are a blow to Smirnov, 70, who has led the unrecognized state for over 20 years. In the summer, the country’s parliament approved amendments to the Constitution that limited the number of consequent presidential terms to two. Smirnov, however, said that the changes apply only to future elections and this his previous four terms should be excluded.

Russia supports Transdniestr, a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine, but top Russian officials have objected to Smirnov’s election bid.

Sergey Naryshkin, head of the Russian Presidential Administration, has openly backed presidential candidate Anatoliy Kaminskiy, saying he has a program that would lead the republic out of crisis.