Moldova votes on Sunday in its third parliamentary polls in one and a half years, seeking to end a political crisis that risks ruining hopes of prosperity and EU integration.
Moldova has been without a full-time president for a year as the liberal coalition which ruled the ex-Soviet state since June 2009 elections has been unable to find the necessary parliament majority to elect a new head of state.
In a sometimes farcical political deadlock, the liberals tried in a September referendum to alter the constitution to have the president elected through direct suffrage but the turnout failed to meet the minimum required.
The ruling coalition, which succeeded pro-Moscow Communists in power and is pushing for closer ties with the European Union, hopes the new elections will give it the votes in parliament to elect its choice of president.
But raising the prospect of yet more turmoil in a country where according to the World Bank Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is just $1,590, analysts warn the new parliament may look just the same as the old one.
This would enable the Communist Party to continue blocking the liberal coalition’s choice for president, even if it loses the elections.
There is a risk of systemic crisis where parliament cannot elect a president and elections are needed every year.