Final election results announced in Moldova, Communists win

CHISINAU – The ruling Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova has won the majority of seats in parliament but will most likely have to reach an agreement with the opposition when the country’s president is elected.

Iurie Ciocan, the secretary of Moldova’s Central Electoral Commission, announced the final results of the April 5 parliamentary polls late on Wednesday. 

He said that four parties had made it to the republic’s legislature. The Communists got 49.48 percent of the votes. The other three parties that won seats in parliaments are the Liberal Party, the Liberal-Democratic Party and the “Our Moldova” alliance. The other eight parties and independent candidates failed to overcome a 7% election threshold. According to Ciocan, 1,555,557 people took part in the elections, and the turnout was 59.5 percent.

After the final results are approved, the Constitutional Court will divide the outsiders’ votes among the winning parties. According to preliminary vote count, the Communists will get no more than 60 mandates. Consequently, the three opposition parties will get 41 mandates altogether. There’s probability that the three opposition parties will block the election of the president who is to be elected by 61 votes. The parliament will be dissolved if the deputies fail to elect the head of state in three attempts.

The outgoing president and the Communist Party leader, Vladimir Voronin, had said prior to the elections that he would name his successor after the elections. Voronin is finishing his second and last presidential term. He himself plans to become a deputy after he steps down.

“Deputy’s work would be the most acceptable for me but it’s a party conference that will make the final decision,” Voronin said.

Ciocan said that the Central Electoral Commission had allowed the four parties that had officially objected the election results and had pointed out cases of election fraud too check voters’ lists and other election materials.

In the meantime, opposition protests are expected to resume in Chisinau on Thursday morning.

About 500 opposition demonstrators who had staged protests downtown the Moldovan capital on Wednesday agreed to go home for the night but promised to return early on Thursday. They demand the release of 200 of their fellow-protesters whom the police arrested on suspicion of organizing disturbances: the parliament building and the administration of the Moldovan president were badly damaged and set alight.

On Wednesday morning, the protesters presented an ultimatum to the Moldovan authorities, threatening to resort to violent actions if all the detainees were not released within an hour. When the deadline expired, some protesters tried to provoke clashes with the police that were sealing off the government building. They hurled stones at the policemen.

The provocations stopped after Petru Corduneanu, the head of the public order division at the Moldovan Interior Ministry, addressed the crowd. He warned the police would have to use force should they try to storm the government building. He suggested the protests be postponed until Thursday morning and called on the protestors to go home. However, they refused and continued chanting:” Free the detained!”, “Down with the Communists”, “Freedom!” and “Unification with Romania!”. Many of them were drunk.

Later in the evening, fights broke out among the demonstrators. Some of them claimed there were disguised policemen among them who had infiltrated their ranks and were trying to persuade everybody to disperse. The police set apart the fighting parties and pressed back a group of protestors to the government building.

After fierce debates whether to leave or stay on the square for the night, the exhausted demonstrators decided to disperse but promised to return to on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, Moldova’s prosecutor general’s office on Wednesday filed a criminal case against the demonstrators on charges of an attempt to overthrow the government. The punishment may be up to 25 years in prison, Moldova’s Chief Prosecutor Valery Gurbulya said.

Riots in Chisinau broke out after the opposition accused the authorities of election fraud and demanded a vote recount. Opposition protests grew into disturbances in the Moldovan capital. International observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, the CIS and other organizations condemned the protests. They recognized the elections to be free and transparent.

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