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Apparent Defection Stings Moldova's Communists Ahead Of Key Vote


Marian Lupu
Marian Lupu
* This article has been corrected since its original posting.

CHISINAU (RFE/RL) -- Former Moldovan parliament speaker Marian Lupu, who was widely expected to be the Communist Party's nominee to become prime minister, has suggested to RFE/RL's Moldovan Service that he could leave the party and join the opposition.

In an exclusive interview, Lupu said he realized the Communist Party does not conform to democratic principles and cannot be reformed from within.

The announcement came one day before Moldova's parliament was scheduled to meet in a final bid to elect a new president.

If no candidate secures 61 votes in the 101-seat legislature in the vote planned for June 3, new elections will be automatically triggered within three months.

Outgoing President Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party has 60 votes and the three opposition parties have pledged to boycott the vote, as they did a similar poll on May 20.

Moldova was shaken by street protests and violence in the days following parliamentary elections in early April, which opposition leaders have alleged were rigged to ensure that all major levers of power remained in the hands of the ruling Communists.

* CORRECTION: The original version stated that Lupu had "decided" to quit the Communist Party. He has rejected that interpretation of his statements, although he continues to express his frustration and displeasure with the party. Our original story also erroneously stated that he planned to participate in possible new elections with opposition parties. Reports from Chisinau claim Lupu held exploratory talks with at least one opposition party, but he rejected suggestions that such a move was already under way.