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Moldovan Communists Might Support Liberal Candidate

Leaders of Moldova's Alliance for European Integration, a four-party coalition
CHISINAU -- Moldova's Communist Party says it could agree to vote for a presidential candidate proposed by the four pro-Western parties if they adhere to the Communists' social program and don't pursue NATO membership, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

The four parties -- who are grouped together in the Alliance for European Integration (AIE) -- have held a majority of seats in Moldova's new parliament since the July 29 parliamentary elections and are set to form a government.

But they need eight votes from Communist deputies in order to elect a new president and avoid another round of early elections.

Speaking on September 15 in Chisinau, Communist leader Vladimir Voronin, who resigned as president last week, said his party could provide those missing votes if the AIE promises to keep salaries and pensions growing and to refrain from bringing Moldova into NATO.

Analysts in Chisinau say the Communists' salary demands would be very difficult for any government to fulfill, given the depth of Moldova's economic crisis.

The four parties in the AIE have differing opinions about NATO membership. The Moldovan Constitution proclaims the country as a neutral state.