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Last stop: Moldova's former president resigns

Author: Alex Bivol Date: Fri, Sep 11 2009 2397 Views
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Vladimir Voronin, president of Moldova in 2001/09 and speaker of parliament since May, resigned on September 11, three days after the country's constitutional court ruled that the election on August 28 of Mihai Ghimpu as new speaker of parliament was legitimate.

Voronin's Communists, which are the largest group with 48 MPs in the 101-seat parliament, appealed the election on the grounds that they were not in the plenary hall during the vote and were denied their constitutional right to assembly by not being able to form a parliament group and field their own nominee in the election.

The MPs decided that Ghimpu will serve as head of state until a president is elected by parliament. The four-party centrist alliance, formed to keep the Communists out of power, is eight MPs short of the 61-vote majority needed to elect the next president, but should the two presidential ballots fail, then Ghimpu, the leader of the Liberal Party that is part of the Alliance for European Integration (AEI), will continue to exercise the head-of-state functions until new snap elections can be called in January 2010.

With a simple majority in parliament after the July 29 early elections, the AEI will be able to appoint the government as well.

New snap elections look likely as AEI's nominee for the presidential seat, Marian Lupu from the Democratic Party, is opposed by the Communists. As a Communist MP, Lupu was speaker of parliament in the 2005/09 legislature and was seen as the leader of the more pro-Western wing in the party. He left the party after the April riots in Chisinau, saying that the Communist establishment mishandled the events.

Thousands of people, mostly youths, took to the streets on April 7 to protest against the Communist victory in the elections two days earlier, ransacking hte presidency and parliament buildings. Three pro-Western opposition parties - the Liberal Party, the Liberal-Democrat party and the Our Moldova Alliance - that won a combined 41 seats, accused the Communists of large-scale electoral fraud.

Following Lupu's defection and alliance with the three pro-Western parties, an irate Voronin said that he regretted his support for Lupu in the past and said that the Communist MPs would vote against his nomination for president.

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