Moldova's parliament has failed to select a new president.
Parliament speaker and interim president Marian Lupu, the only candidate, won 58-3, but did not receive the two-thirds of the vote required because of a Communist boycott.
The ruling pro-Western coalition does not have the 61 votes in the 101-strong parliament needed to elect the head of state and opposition Communists -- the largest party in parliament -- have refused to compromise.
Three deputies who defected from the Communist party last month and might have helped Lupu get elected voted against him.
Marian Lupu told RFE/RL that the Communist leadership "locked" its deputies to prevent defectors from casting their vote.
"Based on the information we have, they [the Communist deputies] are not simply absent, they have been literally locked away together somewhere," Lupu said.
The Communists did not comment on Lupu's statement.
A new ballot to choose a president of Moldova will be held in January. If no one wins, parliament will be dissolved and replaced in a new election.
Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries, has been in a political deadlock since 2009.