Moldova to recount disputed vote
Decision follows widespread anti-Communist protests.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2009 13:21 GMT
Tensions over the vote results spilled over into occasionally violent protests in Chisinau [AFP]

Moldova's constitutional court has agreed to hold a recount of a general election whose results sparked violent protests in the capital, Chisinau.

The court on Sunday agreed to stage a recount after a request from President Vladimir Voronin, whose Communist Party won the disputed vote.

"The Constitutional Court of Moldova hereby orders the Central Election Commission to recount within nine days all ballots cast by voters in the election of April 5," Dumitru Pulbere, the court’s chairman, said.

The results of the vote prompted thousands of anti-Communist activists to turnout in Chisinau, with some protesters storming the president’s office and the parliament.

One person died during riots earlier in the week, authorities confirmed on Sunday, although the cause was not immediately clear.

The parents of Valeriu Bobob, 23, said their son had been beaten while in custody, a charge police deny.

Alla Meleka, an interior ministry spokeswoman, said an investigation into the death was underway.

Lists re-assessed

Voters' lists will be re-examined during the recount in observance with the demands of the opposition, Pulbere said.

In depth

Opposition alleges vote rigging and press intimidation

"These two issues are closely linked. You cannot do one without the other," he said.

The electoral commission has been granted nine days to complete the recount, he said, adding that the commission has been allowed two days more than set down by law due to the Easter break.

"We are all Christians and it is understandable that you need time to think about this," he said, referring to the commission.

"If there are problems or complications of any sort, the constitutional court, at the request of the Central Election Commission, can still extend the deadline," he said.

The disputed results gave the Communists nearly 50 per cent of the vote, enough to take 60 seats in the parliament.

That left the party one seat short of the number required to ensure victory for their candidate when the national assembly later elects a president to succeed Voronin, who cannot run again.

The vote had been given a clean bill of health by election monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Voronin has said that his request to hold a recount was made in order to help promote stability in the country but he has said that opposition parties had plotted a coup.

He also accused Romania, Moldova’s neighbour, of stirring up the protests, a claim denied by Bucharest.

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