Moldovan ruling coalition confident of referendum’s success

Moldova’s Acting President Mihai Ghimpu said on Sunday he was convinced Moldovans would go to the polls and end the country’s political deadlock. Moldova held the first-ever referendum Sunday to decide whether the country would transfer the power of electing a president from parliament consent to popular votes.

The vote was initiated by the ruling Alliance for European Integration, aiming to end the country’s long-standing political crisis. Polls show that a majority of voters favor the proposal.

Local media said over 250 international observers were on the ground to monitor the polling process.

The acting president said he voted for political stability and for Moldova’s European vector after casting his ballot at a polling station in the capital city of Chisinau.

“After the referendum is validated, the law on the presidential election procedure should be passed and promulgated and then the parliament will meet to call the presidential election. I believe that it would be better to hold presidential and parliamentary elections concurrently,” Ghimpu said.

“I voted for the future and for the Republic of Moldova,” the leader of the senior coalition partner Liberal Democratic Party and Prime Minister Vlad Filat said after casting his ballot, expressing conviction that the referendum would be successful and Moldova would hold early parliamentary polls and presidential election in November 2010.

Moldova’s Communist Party, the biggest party in parliament, urged people to boycott the referendum.

“The most important thing is to hold a parliamentary election as early as possible,” said the party leader and former President Vladimir Voronin, adding that only a president elected by the parliament is be able to ensure normal operation of the state apparatus.

According to the Constitution revised in July, the referendum will be valid if participated by over one third, instead of half of the eligible voters’ ballots.

So long as the referendum could be favored by over 50 percent of the voters, new and direct presidential election will be held most likely in November.

Preliminary vote counts would be announced Monday evening, the Moldovan Central Election Commission said.

Moldova’s political deadlock has lasted for more than a year after two parliamentary elections and four attempts to select the president failed.

The current four-party ruling coalition controls 60 seats in the legislature and has been in power since July 2009.

The Communist Party controls the remaining 41 seats and has refused to cooperate with the coalition to elect a president.

The constitutional statute on presidential election requires 61 votes of the 101-seat parliament. The failure of electing a president in two rounds of balloting will lead to a snap parliamentary election.

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