Communists Easily Win Moldova Vote

CHISINAU, Moldova — Moldova’s ruling Communists easily won weekend parliamentary elections, preliminary results showed Monday, but it was uncertain if they had secured enough seats for their candidate to replace President Vladimir Voronin.

The Communists won about 49.9 percent of the vote, according to the Central Election Committee. The party said it favors close links with both Europe and Russia. Russia was the first country to offer its congratulations. 

The results allow the Communists to form a majority in the 101-seat legislature, but they may need votes from other parties to elect a president. Voronin will step down this month after serving the legal maximum of two terms in power. He has made it clear that he wants to remain close to power by taking on another senior post in the manner of Vladimir Putin, who became prime minister last year after serving two terms as president.

President Dmitry Medvedev telephoned Voronin on Monday to say “he looked forward to future collaboration between the new Moldovan government and Russian Federation authorities,” Voronin’s office said in a statement.

The election results were based on a final vote count from Sunday’s ballot. Turnout was more than 59 percent. There are two days to consider challenges.

Opposition parties raised the specter of a new election by saying they would not join a coalition with the Communists. If the Communists fall short of 61 seats and no president is elected in three ballots, another parliamentary election must be called.

Three opposition parties passed the 6 percent barrier to enter parliament. All three are broadly in favor free market policies and closer ties with the European Union and do not object to membership in NATO.

The Liberal Party received almost 13 percent of the vote, the Liberal Democrats 12 percent of the vote and Our Moldova almost 10 percent of the vote.

The opposition on Monday threatened to protest if there were any irregularities in the vote. “If there has been any falsification of the election — and we can prove it — then we will go to the streets,” Vlad Filat, leader of the Liberal Democratic party, told PRO-TV.

The election was monitored by some 3,000 observers. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election was fair, but there was a need for “unbiased news reporting by the public broadcaster,” said Nikolai Vulchanov, head of the long-term election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

In the ethnic Moldovan town of Corjova, inside the breakaway region of Transdnestr, some 300 people jammed a polling station, preventing residents from casting ballots. Election observers were investigating the incident, and the town’s residents voted in a nearby village.

Moldovans living in other areas controlled by separatists were prevented from traveling to polling stations.

No ballots took place in the separatist-controlled areas of Transdnestr, where Russia has 500 troops stationed.

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