Trans-Dniester profile - Leaders

Leader: Yevgeny Shevchuk

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Image caption Mr Shevchuck aims to ensure Russia's continued support

A former speaker of Trans-Dniester's parliament, Yevgeny Shevchuk overturned expectations by coming first in the initial round of voting in the November 2011 presidential election, pushing the incumbent Igor Smirnov into third place.

Mr Shevchuk then beat Anatoly Kaminsky, a colleague-turned-rival and Russia's preferred candidate, in the second round to become president in December.

Yevgeny Shevchuk broke with long-serving President Smirnov in 2009 in an attempt to limit the latter's powers. He then lead an anti-corruption movement that also called for greater transparency in government.

The 43-year-old Mr Shevchuk's election campaign benefited from public weariness with lack of progress in peace talks and general economic stagnation under Mr Smirnov, who had also lost the support of Russia.

The new president said he wants to improve relations with Moldova and Ukraine with a view to having them accept Trans-Dniestrian independence, although his shorter-term aim is to ease border travel and trade restrictions.

A major priority will be to ensure that Russia continues to support the isolated territory.