CHISINAU -- A leading Moldovan communist deputy who is quitting the party's parliamentary group says other communist lawmakers could be poised to leave the party, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
Vladimir Turcanu told RFE/RL he has been frustrated with the Communist Party's policies for several months and tried unsuccessfully to convince party leaders to initiate reforms.
He said the "last drop" was the Communist Party's boycott of the presidential election in parliament on December 7.
The Communists' refusal to vote for government-backed candidate Marian Lupu effectively opened the door to new elections, which could be held in the second half of 2010.
Turcanu said his frustration with his party's tactics is shared by other communist deputies who are thinking of following him in leaving the party.
He did not name which deputies he thinks might defect.
Turcanu said he will try to launch a new parliamentary group and new political party that will be "leftist but not Communist."
Turcanu, who has been considered for many years to be a moderate with the Communist Party, said he is worried by the "radical right policies" of the country's new rulers, who took over after the July 29 parliamentary elections.
He said his new party would try to defend Moldova's statehood and neutrality.
Some pro-Western members of the new government are widely perceived by the communists and other leftists as being too pro-Romania and pro-NATO.
Meanwhile, influential Communist Mark Tkachuk told RFE/RL that Turcanu has not yet filed a request to leave the party's parliamentary group.
Lupu, the only candidate for president, left the Communist Party in May.
He has been unable to get eight of the 48 communist deputies in parliament to vote for him as president and provide the three-fifths majority he needs to be elected.