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Moldovan Leader To Dissolve Parliament, Call Early Elections

Acting President and parliament speaker Mihai Ghimpu (file photo)

Acting President and parliament speaker Mihai Ghimpu (file photo)

CHISINAU -- Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu says he will issue a decree to dissolve the parliament and call for early elections, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Ghimpu, who is also speaker of the parliament, told journalists today he had asked the Constitutional Court to give him formal approval, which he said he expected by September 14.

His comments come days after a referendum on reintroducing direct presidential elections failed due to low voter turnout.

In the past, Ghimpu has hinted that despite its failure to elect a president, the current parliament could carry on due to loopholes in legislation.

But the opposition Communists and even members of Ghimpu's ruling four-party coalition, the Alliance for European Integration, have urged him to call early polls.

The ruling coalition, meanwhile, said today it wanted early elections to take place on November 21.

Moldova has been without a president for more than a year because the Communists repeatedly blocked attempts by the ruling parties to have their candidate, Marian Lupu, elected by lawmakers.

The ruling coalition initiated the September 5 referendum in which voters were asked to decide whether they wanted their president to be elected directly by voters instead of by parliament deputies.

The referendum failed as turnout was below the 33 percent required for the vote to be valid. An overwhelming majority of those who turned up voted in favor of the change.

According to the constitution, a new referendum on the same topic cannot be held in the next two years.