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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The U.S. State Department says the invalidation of recent mayoral elections by the country’s top court is “a threat to Moldovan democracy.”

Andrei Nastase, a pro-European prosecutor who opposes the Russia-friendly policies of Moldova’s government, won Chisinau’s June 3 mayoral election, defeating a Socialist candidate who called for closer relations with Moscow.

Moldova’s Appeals Court voided the election, saying both candidates had addressed voters on social media after the legal end of campaigning. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling. Nastase called the decision politically motivated.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Moldovan Premier Pavel Filip this week that free and fair elections were “the hallmark of a democratic government.”

The U.S. statement Thursday called the court ruling “unusual and unwarranted” which “damages respect for the rule of law and democratic principles.”