A staunchly pro-Russian party has grabbed the lead in Moldova’s parliamentary election, but pro-European parties will be able to form a coalition, partial results suggest.
Sunday’s parliamentary election has taken on wider significance with the unrest in neighbouring Ukraine. Moldova, like Ukraine, has a pro-Russia separatist region in its east.
With 89.5 per cent of the vote counted, the three pro-Europe parties were ahead with about 44.6 per cent, with 40.3 per cent for the two pro-Russia parties. Parties need to get at least six per cent to gain seats in the 101-member Parliament.
The remaining votes to be counted were from absentees, and were expected to break more or less evenly between pro-Russians and pro-Europeans.
Although the pro-European parties could remain in government, support for them has eroded – from nearly 52 per cent in 2010 – and they do not have enough seats to elect a president, which could lead to political fighting and possibly slow the pace of reforms.
Ion Tabarta, an analyst from the Politikon Institute of Political Studies, said the partial results suggested that pro-European reforms “will probably continue”.
The most important conclusion of Sunday’s election was “that Moldova continues its pro-European path” said Marian Lupu, leader of the Democratic Party, whose party was in fourth place.
The surprise leader was the strongly pro-Russia Socialists’ Party after the country’s top court banned another pro-Russian party, Patria, from competing. Its supporters probably switched to the Socialists.