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Communists "to win Moldovan poll"

Moldova's ruling communists are poised, as expected, to win the general election in Europe's poorest country, exit polls suggest.

They are said to have won 46% of the vote with their three main rivals on 14%, 14% and 10%, according to polls quoted by foreign news agencies.

The vote has been seen as significant for Moldova's future course.

At stake are Moldova's relations with the EU and Russia, as well as the fate of the breakaway Trans-Dniester region.

Opinion polls in the run-up to the vote had suggested the Communist Party would retain its leading position.

The Institute of Public Politics, a Moldovan umbrella group of think-tanks and polling organisations, said the communists would have 56 seats in the 101-member legislature.

President Vladimir Voronin must stand down, having served two terms and one of parliament's first acts after being elected will be to vote for a new president.

To ensure a large enough majority to choose their own presidential candidate, the communists need 61 seats.

De facto independence

Mr Voronin's successor will lead a country where the average wage is just under $250 a month and will inherit the still unresolved conflict over the breakaway region of Trans-Dniester.

The dispute is reminiscent of the situation in South Ossetia before last summer's war, the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse reports.

The region has run its own affairs, with Russian support, since the end of hostilities in a brief war in 1992.

Though Trans-Dniester is in de facto independent, no country has recognised it as such and Moldova maintains that the region is an integral part of its territory. Most Trans-Dniestrians are boycotting this vote.

Many hold Russian passports and want their region to join Russia eventually.

Mr Voronin resumed direct talks with the breakaway territory last year and has said he wants to remain closely involved in the affairs of state after he steps down.

Sursa: BBC News


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