Pro-West parties narrowly beat Moldova Communists
Chisinau: Moldova's pro-Western parties said on Wednesday they'll forge an alliance after winning a narrow lead in Parliamentary Elections — a stinging setback to Europe's last communist-run government.
Preliminary results from a tightly-contested parliamentary vote in the impoverished former Soviet republic gave four centre-right opposition parties a slim lead over the Communist Party, which has ruled Moldova since 2001.
With 75 percent of the vote counted, the opposition had 49.5 percent to the Communists' 46 percent.
Officials said the gap could grow as more ballots cast in the capital, Chisinau, were tallied. And the opposition could get another boost from three parties whose votes will be redistributed because they didn't reach the five percent minimum needed to enter Parliament.
Wednesday's outcome threatened to unseat Europe's last government officially administered by a Communist Party.
Leaders of the four opposition blocs vowed to form an alliance, raising the likelihood that Moldova — one of Europe's poorest nations — may move out of Russia's orbit and closer to the European Union.
"The conclusion is that the Communist Party lost the elections after an exhausting campaign where there were enormous pressures not just on the political parties but also on the ordinary people," said Alexandru Tanase, deputy chairman of the largest opposition bloc, the Liberal Democratic Party.
Tanase confirmed that his party would negotiate with the Liberal Party, Democratic Party and Our Moldova Alliance.
"In a short time we will find a favourable solution to develop democracy in Moldova," added Our Moldova Alliance chief Serafim Urechean.
Despite the opposition's gains, it appeared to fall short of gaining enough seats in the 101-member assembly to elect a successor to outgoing President Vladimir Voronin, meaning it will have to negotiate with the Communists.
Voronin, who leads the Communists, already has served the maximum two terms.
Moldova has been in political paralysis since April Parliamentary Elections sparked violent protests, with the opposition claiming that vote had been rigged by the government.