CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova's constitutional court has confirmed the results of last month's parliamentary election, which gave pro-Western parties the upper hand over the incumbent Communist Party in Europe's poorest nation.
Four opposition parties have formed a coalition on a platform of moving closer to the European Union and have 53 seats in parliament -- enough to form a government but too few to vote through their choice of president.
This may prove problematic for the Liberal Democratic, Liberal, and Democratic parties and the Our Moldova Alliance, which are trying to pull Moldova out of a months-long political stalemate as an economic crisis hits the tiny nation.
"The snap election in Moldova on July 29 has been confirmed in law. The decision of the Constitutional court of August 14 about the final results of the elections is final and is not subject to appeal," Court Chairman Dumitru Pulbere said.
Outgoing President Vladimir Voronin must now set a date for the first sitting of the assembly. He called the snap poll after his Communists, victorious in an election in April, failed by one vote to endorse their candidate for president.
The first sitting of parliament, expected to be on August 28, will kick-start the procedure for forming a new government and electing a president to replace Voronin, who cannot stand for a third consecutive term.
The coalition, calling itself the Alliance for European Integration, needs to woo at least eight Communists to secure their candidate for the post -- as yet unnamed.
But analysts say the parties seem instead to be fighting over government posts and there are no Communists to negotiate with as they have left town for their summer break.
"The Alliance should take responsibility and power, and rule," said Igor Botan, head of the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), a non-partisan think-tank. "But right now the leaders of all four parties want to be speakers, and no one wants to be premier."
If the coalition does succeed in installing its president, it may try to bring the nation of 4.3 million, bordering EU member Romania and Ukraine, closer to Europe and away from former Soviet master Russia.
But it will also have to cope with an economic crisis – the economy is expected to shrink by 9 percent as remittances fall - and try to resolve a years-old dispute with its breakaway Transdniestr region, where Russia has a military contingent.