The local population in the Gagauz Autonomous Region of Moldova on Sunday began going to the polls to vote in the region’s gubernatorial election. Voting in the autonomous region started at 7 a.m. local time (0400GMT), amid the end of current Gagauz Governor Irina Vlah’s second four-year term in office, and will end at 9 p.m. (1800GMT). It is expected that 92,516 voters will go to the polls in 65 election centers in the Gagauz Autonomous Region to elect their new governor, who is also a permanent member of the Moldovan government. The elections are being observed by 75 foreign and 21 local observers from Türkiye, Azerbaijan, the US, Ukraine, UK, and EU. Former Gagauz governors Mihail Formuzal and Dmitri Croitor, the latter of whom is also Moldova’s current ambassador to Türkiye, stand out as the prominent candidates, in addition to Grigorii Uzun — nominated by the Socialist Party led by former Moldovan President Igor Dodon — and Evghenia Gutsul, nominated by the pro-Russian Shor Party. Members of the Gagauz National Assembly Viktor Petrov, Nikolai Dudoglo, Serghei Cimpoiesh, and Serghei Cernev are also taking part in the election, while Moldova’s ruling Party of Action and Solidarity led by President Maia Sandu did not nominate or endorse a candidate. If any of the candidates do not receive more than 50% of the vote, a second round of the gubernatorial election will be held two weeks later. Meanwhile, if the election turnout is below 50%, it will be deemed invalid and will be held again in two weeks. Gagauzia is an autonomous region in the Eastern European country of Moldova with a population of approximately 120,000 Gagauz people — an Orthodox Christian, Turkic community that speaks Gagauz Turkish.