For the third time in two years, Moldovan voters have failed to give a clear signal as to how they view the country’s political future.
With some 95 percent of the votes from the November 28 legislative elections tallied, the country seems set for a continuation of the long-running political deadlock between the Communist Party and the West-leaning, center-right governing coalition.
Results indicate the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) coalition will fall a few legislative seats short of the 61 needed to elect a president and end the standoff.
Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin
The Communist Party remains the leading political force in Moldova, picking up about 41 percent of the vote, according to the preliminary results.
The Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Vlad Filat is running second with 28 percent, followed by the Democratic Party with 13 percent and the Liberal Party with 8.8 percent. One party from the four-party coalition, the Our Moldova Alliance, has failed to pick up the 5 percent of the vote needed to enter the new legislature.
So far – and a final official tally is expected later today – the liberal coalition would have 57 seats in the 101-member parliament, up from the 53 they received in the July 2009 polls.
"The Communist Party [has] 44 seats...The Liberal Democratic Party, 31 seats; the Democratic Party, 15 seats; and the Liberal Party, 11 seats," Central Election Commission Secretary Iurie Ciocan announced at a press conference in Chisinau this morning. "But this distribution will certainly change as soon as the results of voting abroad are officially processed."
The votes of Moldovans abroad will determine the four remaining seats. If the AIE picks up all of them, it would control 61 mandates. However, analysts expect the parties to win only three of the remaining seats, leaving it one vote shy.
Liberal Democratic leader Vlad Filat
Filat told supporters late on November 28 that the coalition has much work ahead.
"We can celebrate results of these elections," he said, "but the celebration time has to be short, as this result --- first of all, it means more responsibility, which we have to support with our work, starting literally from tomorrow."
The Communist Party has adopted obstructionist tactics since it lost its parliamentary majority in the July 2009 elections. It boycotted the legislature and refused to participate in efforts to elect a successor to Communist President Vladimir Voronin.
Communist Party official Mark Tkachuk told journalists last night that the party is awaiting official results.
"To those who are drinking whisky now, and we know that they are not drinking champagne, we would like to say that they do it too early," Tkachuk said. "Shortly, when we have official and legal results from Central Election Commission, the Communist Party will start commenting on them."
Communist officials have said previously that they expected to win up to 65 percent of the vote and indicated they might contest the official results of the November 28 voting.
The election was observed by more than 300 monitors sent by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
The mission’s preliminary reports stated that the campaign was conducted fairly and openly. It has scheduled a press conference for later today to present a preliminary postelection statement.
written by Robert Coalson, with contributions from RFE/RL’s Moldova Service