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Moldovan Communists Agree To Help Resolve Political Deadlock

Communist leader and former President Vladimir Voronin
Communist leader and former President Vladimir Voronin
CHISINAU -- Moldova appeared to move closer to resolving a political stalemate today as the opposition Communist Party agreed to join the government for talks on changing the way the country's president is elected, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

The Communist Party, which has 43 seats in the 101-seat parliament, said its deputies could agree to vote for a new process to elect the head of state if the ruling coalition would pledge to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.

Under Moldova's constitution the president is elected with a three-fifths majority in parliament, making it easy for any large opposition party to block the election.

The current parliament -- which came to power last summer -- has failed twice to elect the head of state and, according to the constitution, should dissolve itself by mid-June.

The ruling coalition has floated the idea of holding a referendum to ammend the constitution, which would include the procedure for electing the president. A successful vote for the government in the referendum would allow it to avoid early elections and stay in office longer.

There are not many opinion polls in Moldova, but some analysts believe early elections might benefit the communists more than the pro-Western ruling coalition, which has passed unpopular economic reforms under pressure from the International Monetary Fund in order to receive badly needed loans.