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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 17:55 GMT
Trans-Dniester pins hopes on vote
By Helen Fawkes
BBC News

A statue of Lenin in the capital of Trans-Dniester, Tiraspol
The breakaway capital boasts a big statue of Lenin
Trans-Dniester, a breakaway republic, has been voting in its fourth parliamentary election.

The vote is unlikely to lead to any serious political change, but the separatists who run Trans-Dniester hope it will help to end its isolation.

The Russian-speaking area declared itself to be independent from the republic of Moldova 15 years ago.

A bloody conflict followed which claimed hundreds of lives. The border is now patrolled by Russian soldiers.

Moldova - and the world - do not recognise elections that are held in Trans-Dniester.

The vote is being shunned by official observers.

Representatives of foreign governments including Russia, as well as large international organisations, are not sending monitors.

Not free

Much of the media is controlled by the authorities and there little freedom of speech in this breakaway state.

The European Union's foreign policy chief earlier highlighted the absence of the conditions needed for a free and fair election.

It is expected that most of the seats will be won by supporters of the self-proclaimed president - 179 candidates are contesting 43 seats.

It is unlikely that the vote will be followed by mass protests like Ukraine's Orange Revolution as there is little support for the opposition.


SEE ALSO:
Trans-Dniester's surreal life
02 Sep 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Moldova
06 Jul 04 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Trans-Dniester
22 May 05 |  Country profiles
Peace talks restart on Moldova
24 Feb 04 |  Europe


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