According to preliminary results Opposition parties in the ex-Soviet nation of Moldova won enough votes to defeat the ruling Communists in elections Wednesday.
With 75% of the vote counted, four opposition parties had 49.5%, while the Communists, who have governed the former Soviet republic since 2001, had 46%, according to the Associated Press. If the mainly pro-European opposition can unite to form a government, that should give it a majority in the 101-seat Moldovan parliament. Officials expect the gap to grow as more ballots are counted in Chisinau, the capital, where the Communists have less support than in rural areas, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"Democracy and truth has finally been victorious. We fought for this for so long and with so many difficulties," said Vlad Filat, leader of the Liberal Democrats who were second behind the Communists on 16.4 percent.
"There will definitely be a coalition, a wide coalition in the interests of the people. We will find the necessary compromise and find agreement so that Moldova finally gets democratic rule," he told Reuters, The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, the likely outcome threatens to deepen the political crisis that has engulfed Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, since the election in April that gave the Communists 50 per cent of the vote. That result prompted thousands to take to the streets and led to rioting in which the parliament was stormed and set on fire by angry crowds who fought with police.
The Communists may look to stay in power by cutting a deal with Marian Lupu, a disaffected former parliamentary Speaker, who quit their ranks last month and became the leader of the opposition Democratic Party. He has ruled out a coalition with his former comrades but analysts have suggested that he may be willing to work with the Communists if Mr Voronin bows out of politics, Times Online reports.