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Moldovan Parliament Delays Vote On New President

Outgoing President Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party doesn't quite hold all the cards.
CHISINAU (RFE/RL) -- The Communist Party majority in the Moldovan parliament has postponed a second and final vote on the country's president until June 3, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Maria Postoico, the head of the Communist Party parliamentary faction, explained the decision by saying that "today we celebrate Jesus Christ's atonement and it would be wrong to discuss the major problems of the country."

Observers say the postponement is more likely due to the Communists' failure to persuade the opposition -- which has vowed to boycott the vote -- to participate.

The Communist Party is one vote short of the majority it needs in parliament to elect a new president.

The Communists hold 60 of the 101 seats in parliament after winning their third straight general elections on April 5, which was followed by sometimes violent protests and accusations from some quarters that the process was rigged.

If the president is not elected in two months, the constitution says early elections must be held.

Opposition leader Mihai Ghimpu said he is happy "that all 41 opposition deputies remain united" in maintaining the boycott and said "early general elections are the only way out of this crisis."

Acting President Vladimir Voronin, a Communist who also holds the post of parliament speaker, said his party will keep Zinaida Greceanii, the acting prime minister, as its main presidential candidate at the next vote.