Ruling communists lose Moldova elections

July 30, 2009 at 10:00 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova, July 30 (UPI) -- Moldova's ruling pro-Moscow communists lost their parliamentary majority to the country's four opposition pro-Western parties, election results showed.

With 98.3 percent of votes counted, the Communist Party won 48 seats in the 101-seat Moldovan parliament and the four opposition parties collected 53 seats, Eugen Stirbu, head of the central electoral commission, told a news conference in Chisinau Thursday.

Turnout for Wednesday's early parliamentary elections was 58.8 percent, or 1.6 million voters of the 2.6 million eligible voters, the Moldova Azi news Web site said.

The Wednesday voting was a rerun of parliamentary elections in April, when the Communist party won a majority but the opposition said the vote was rigged.

The former Soviet republic has been experiencing a political crisis since the April elections that turned into a week of bloody protests. Parliamentary deputies failed twice to elect a new head of state.

Once the Thursday election results are declared final, the four pro-Western parties will be able to form a government but not to elect a new Moldovan president. Theya re eight votes shy of the 60 percent parliamentary majority needed to replace outgoing head of state, Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin, who already has served the maximum of two presidential terms.

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