CHISINAU (Reuters) -- Moldova's ruling Communists, led by President Vladimir Voronin, won 50 percent in a parliamentary election, according to preliminary official results, with just over 91 percent of votes counted.
The new parliament will vote in a president to replace Voronin, the only Communist leader in Europe. In power since 2001, he cannot stand for a third consecutive term.
The results posted on the Central Election Commission's website did not make clear whether the Communists could gain the 61 seats out of 101 in the assembly needed to choose their own candidate.
Three opposition parties crossed a 6 percent barrier to win representation in parliament. Broadly in favor of closer ties with the European Union and free-market policies, the three have said they would not enter a coalition with the Communists.
The Liberal Party received almost 13 percent of the vote, the Liberal Democrats 12 percent, and Our Moldova almost 10 percent. Exit polls immediately after the April 5 election gave the Communists 45 percent.