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'Social' Deal Rejected With Moldova Communists

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vlad Filat (right) at the opening session of parliament on August 28.
CHISINAU -- The man tipped to head Moldova's next government, Vlad Filat, says that any future government of his will adopt austerity measures that allow the country to qualify for a vital International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Filat says such a policy rules out a deal with the Communist opposition, which had offered conditional support in ending Moldova's political crisis.

Communist leader Vladimir Voronin, who resigned after a decade as Moldova's president last week, said his party would support the new government's candidate for head of state if the ruling coalition implements generous social policies -- including raising pensions and the salaries of state workers -- and does not pursue NATO membership.

Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu told ProTV on September 15 that NATO membership is not on the ruling coalition's agenda.

He also denied plans for a union with neighboring Romania, an EU and NATO member with which Moldova shares a common language and history.

Moldova's new ruling coalition has a majority of seats in parliament but still needs at least eight votes from the Communists in order to elect a new president in a vote that should be held by the end of the month.

If the parliament fails twice to elect a president with a three-fifths majority in the 101-seat chamber, the country will have another round of early elections next year.

Already the poorest country in Europe, Moldova has been hit hard by the global economic downturn.

While president, Voronin secured a pledge of $500 million in assistance from Moscow to help pad the country's treasury.