The former parliamentary speaker of the Moldovan breakaway republic of Transdnestr, Yevgeny Shevchuk, was announced the winner on Monday of the presidential polls in Sunday`s runoff election, Transdnestr Central Election Commission’s chief Pyotr Denisenko said, according to RIA Novosti.

The Central Election Commission said that “the elections are recognized as legitimate, Yevgeny Vasilyevich Shevchuk is to become the elected President of the Moldovan republic.”

Shevchuk will serve as Transdnestr`s president for the next five years.

Shevchuk and his opponent, Supreme Council Chairman Anatoly Kaminsky faced off in the runoff after taking 38.55 percent and 26.3 percent of the vote respectively in the first round on December 11.

Outgoing president Igor Smirnov garnered 24.66 percent of the vote in the first round. Election officials rejected his appeal to declare the vote invalid, saying there were no grounds to do so.

The Russian-speaking region gained de facto independence from Moldova in 1992. A joint peacekeeping force of Russian, Moldovan and Transdnestr contingents has been deployed in the area.

Transdnestr is seeking full independence, but Moldova says it is only prepared to allow autonomy.