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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Voronin Re-Elected President by Moldova's New Parliament

APVladimir Voronin
CHISINAU, Moldova -- Pro-Western President Vladimir Voronin was re-elected Monday in a parliamentary vote, and he pledged to continue efforts to bring Moldova closer to the European Union.

Voronin, who won with 75 votes in the 101-seat legislature, has made a complete turnaround in his foreign policy since 2001, when he advocated a union with Russia and Belarus. He now favors closer ties with the West.

In Monday's vote, he was up against Gheorghe Duca, who is also from the Communist Party and is chairman of the Science Institute and a former ecology minister in the Communist government of 2001-04. Duca's candidacy was seen only as a formality, as Moldovan law requires two candidates for a presidential vote to be valid. He won only one vote.

Voronin, whose Communist Party has 56 seats, won the vote with support from several smaller opposition groups, including the pro-Western Popular Christian Democratic Party, which has 11 seats.

"We voted for Voronin because early elections would have favored the forces supported by Russia," said Iurie Rosca, who heads the Christian Democrats.

Voronin, a former baker, engineer and police general, first became president of Moldova in 2001.

For years, he held close relations with Moscow, but finally broke with Russia in 2003 over its support for the separatist Russian-speaking region of Transdnestr, where Russia has about 1,800 troops.

In March, parliament elected Marian Lupu, a Communist, to be the chamber's speaker. That vote was seen as a signal that Voronin would likely be able to draw enough support to be re-elected by lawmakers.