The speaker of Moldova’s parliament accused Russia Tuesday of meddling in the country’s politics ahead of a presidential election that could cement the former Soviet republic as a contender for European Union membership or further Russan control. Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu said the government thinks “the Russians are financing political parties and leaders” and backing anti-government protests. Candu told The Associated Press that Moldova’s leaders also suspect Russia of “manipulating media outlets and doing propaganda.” “I try to be positive and optimistic, but there are external factors that are of concern for us,” he said in a telephone interview.
Candu is in Washington to discuss the political and economic situation in Moldova with the International Monetary Fund and U.S. State Department officials and others ahead of the Oct. 30 election.
Socialist Party candidate Igor Dodon, who favors closer ties with Moscow and opposes the current ruling party’s push to join the EU, is leading in opinion polls. However, a runoff is expected since it is unlikely any candidate will secure a majority of votes.