Voting was underway on Wednesday in closely monitored elections that could shift the impoverished former Soviet republic of Moldova away from Russia and toward the European Union.
At stake is whether the country will stay tilted towards Russia under the leadership of the ruling Communist party, or choose the EU-oriented opposition.
But it's also a battle between the city and the countryside.
The Communists enjoy some of their strongest support in the countryside.
But in one small traditional village, Colinita, just six kilometres (3.7 miles) from the capital Chisinau, some said they were hoping for change.
"We expect a better life," said farmer's wife Lydia Ursu as she tended ducklings on the main road of the village.
Inside the polling station, villagers queued to cast their ballots.
Pensioner Nina Mazilu said she wanted her country to be free of Russian-language influences.
"We want a pure language and a better future, not what we have at the moment," she said.
Valerie Cernei, a student, said she was voting for the future of all Moldovans.
"I just want change," she said.
Moldova has been in political paralysis since April parliamentary elections sparked violent protests, with the opposition claiming the balloting was rigged by the government.
At least three people were killed and hundreds of others arrested after protesters - some of whom used the social network Twitter to organise after cell phone networks went down - stormed parliament and the president's office.
Polls suggest the ruling Communist Party was leading with about 31 percent heading into Wednesday's vote, but analysts said four pro-European parties could win a combined 33 percent and form an alliance to elect the country's next president and move it toward the West.
Turnout in the first six hours was at almost 30 percent turnout, according to the Central Electoral Committee.
It was some three percentage points more than in the same period during the disputed April 5 election.
In an effort to discourage any attempts at vote fraud, more than 3-thousand foreign and Moldovan observers were monitoring Wednesday's elections.
The vote was overshadowed by the world economic downturn, which has exacted a heavy toll on Moldova.
The country's average monthly wage is only 350 US dollars, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that its gross domestic product will tumble 9 percent this year.