Moldovans head to polls, opt between Moscow and West

Moldovans head to polls, opt between Moscow and West
Seen through the mesh covering an electoral advertising point of the Socialits' Party, people walk in Chisinau, Moldova, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, a day before the country holds parliamentary elections. Moldova's President Igor Dodon expressed, in an interview with the Associated Press, concern of "massive protests" in case of suspicions of fraud in the upcoming parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldovans have begun voting in parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic, in a ballot that could deepen a split between pro-Western and pro-Russian forces.

Sunday’s vote in the country wedged between Romania and Ukraine comes amid concerns about endemic corruption and the erosion of democracy. Parties need to win 6 percent of the overall ballot to enter Parliament.

More than 3 million voters are eligible to elect representatives for the next four years to the 101-seart legislature.

The incumbent ruling alliance headed by the nominally pro-European Democratic Party has lost support over rampant corruption and falling living standards.

The voting system has been changed in what critics say is a ploy to help the two main parties— the broadly pro-Russian Socialists and the Democrats— to carve up influence.