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Moldovan Ruling Alliance, Communists Fail To Find President

Acting President Marian Lupu casts his vote during a presidential election in the parliament on December 16 whose legality is being challenged.
CHISINAU -- The first formal negotiations in more than a year between the Moldovan ruling bloc and the opposition Communists have ended without agreement on how to elect a president and end protracted political deadlock, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

But officials from the three-party Alliance for European Integration and the Communist Party said talks to find a compromise candidate would continue ahead of a planned parliamentary vote to pick a president on January 15.

In his third unsuccessful attempt to become president, ruling coalition candidate Marian Lupu -- who defected from the Communist Party in 2009 -- fell two short of the required 61 votes on December 16.

As speaker of parliament, Lupu currently serves as Moldova's acting president.

Representatives of both the governing coalition and the Communist Party said the tone of talks on January 9 was "encouraging."

A failure to elect the president on January 15 could trigger fresh parliamentary elections for the fourth time in less than three years.

A Constitutional Court ruling expected on January 12 on the legality of the December 16 voting by lawmakers adds further uncertainty to the process. An independent parliament deputy asked the Constitutional Court to nullify that vote because many deputies violated the process's secrecy by showing their ballots to cameras.

If the court agrees to void the December 16 vote, then the whole procedure could be repeated again and early parliamentary elections would not be held.