Ex-speaker Shevchuk wins vote in rebel Transdniestria

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 26, 2011 4:43 AM
Ex-speaker Shevchuk wins vote in rebel Transdniestria

TIRASPOL, Moldova (Reuters) - Former parliament speaker Yevgeny Shevchuk won the presidential election in Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region with 73.88 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results announced by the republic's election authority Monday.

Shevchuk competed against current parliament speaker Anatoly Kaminsky, who was backed by Russia, in a run-off Sunday.

Kaminsky's defeat followed a similar setback for Moscow in Georgia's rebel region of South Ossetia where a Kremlin-endorsed candidate lost a presidential election last month.

"According to preliminary results, he (Shevchuk) received 73.88 percent of votes while his opponent Anatoly Kaminsky received 19.67 percent," Central Election Commission chairman Pyotr Denisenko told reporters.

President Igor Smirnov, who ran the mainly Russian-speaking territory as an independent fiefdom since it broke from Moldova and fought a brief war against Moldovan forces in 1992, was voted out in the first round on December 11.

Not recognized internationally, Transdniestria relies on Russian financial and political support for its half a million people. Moscow still has about 1,500 troops in a strip of land along Moldova's eastern border with Ukraine.

Talks with Moldova have failed to make progress under Smirnov who insisted on sovereignty while Moscow suggested Transdniestria should be part of Moldova with a special status.

Shevchuk, 43, fell out with Smirnov in 2009 after suggesting constitutional reform to limit presidential powers. His campaign in this election focused on fighting corruption and nepotism.

Although he has not spoken in favor of rejoining Moldova, Shevchuk has called for compromise solutions that would make travelling and doing business easier for Transdniestrians.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Louise Ireland)