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Moldova's Interim President Denies Plans To Outlaw Communists

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Still OK.
CHISINAU -- Moldova's interim President Mihai Ghimpu has told RFE/RL's Moldovan Service he has no plans to ban the symbols of the opposition Communist Party or the party itself.

Speaking ahead of the release of a report on Moldova's Soviet past, Ghimpu said he personally believes all totalitarian ideologies should be condemned, including communism. But he added that the hammer-and-sickle emblem is, and should remain, the "legal property" of the Moldovan Communist Party.

A commission of historians was expected to submit a report on Moldova's communist past to Ghimpu later in the day.

The Communist Party, which is the strongest single political group in Moldova despite losing last year's election to an alliance of largely pro-Western parties, has warned that the government will use the report as a pretext to ban the party.

But Ghimpu and members of the commission have repeatedly said the report only deals with communism before the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Moldova's Communist Party ruled the country for most of the last decade and remains popular, especially with older voters and members of the Russian-speaking community.