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Pause In Moldova Coalition Talks Affords Diplomatic Flurry

CHISINAU -- The four opposition parties that will be represented in Moldova's next parliament have announced a break in coalition talks so their leaders can meet with foreign diplomats to discuss the possible makeup of a new government, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Vlad Filat, head of the Liberal Party, had said on August 5 that the four-party talks were going well and would probably resume in a few days.

The pro-Western opposition parties and the ruling Communist Party have held a flurry of meetings with ambassadors -- including from the United States and Russia -- as well as an EU representative, since the results of the July 29 elections suggested the Communists had lost their long-held majority.

Russian Ambassador to Moldova Valery Kuzmin told local media on August 5 that it was still unclear which parties would govern and which would be in the opposition.

Campaigning against incumbent President Vladimir Voronin, the four opposition parties won 53 seats in the 101-member parliament, where Voronin's Communists are still the strongest single party with 48 seats.

A simple majority is enough to elect a new government, but the country's president must be elected with a three-thirds majority, or 61 votes.

Voronin has been in office since 2001 but is at the end of his second term and barred by law from serving a third term.