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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldova Postpones Vote for President

ReutersMoldovans filling out forms at Chisinau's main post office earlier this week to apply for Romanian citizenship.
CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldova's parliament postponed from Thursday a final ballot to elect a president, a vote that outgoing Communist President Vladimir Voronin hopes will enable him to hold on to the reins of power.

Voronin, who intends to wield authority in his new job as speaker of the parliament, proposed the postponement to next Wednesday, and deputies approved it. Within 10 minutes, the session was adjourned.

Lawmakers had been due to vote on a loyal protege, Communist Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii, who fell one vote short in the first ballot last week. A total of 61 members must endorse the nominee in the 101-seat assembly.

A second failure by Greceanii to win the presidency would trigger another parliamentary election a month after a Communist victory in the last vote prompted violent protests.

The postponement indicated that the Communists had failed to secure the necessary additional vote. Three opposition parties boycotted the ballot.

"We took a break in order to have another chance for consultations with the opposition and to try to elect a president," Voronin, who remains acting president, told reporters.

Analysts said the Communists would now desperately try to persuade a single opposition deputy to back Greceanii.

The three opposition parties are liberal and pro-European in outlook and also favor closer ties with neighboring Romania.

Voronin has seesawed back to better links to Russia. Some have suggested that he may play a role like that of former President Vladimir Putin who, as prime minister, exerts influence alongside his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev.