Moldovan court delays election recount request

Moldova's Constitutional Court postponed for one day a hearing on the president's request for a recount of the vote in disputed parliamentary elections.

Moldovan court delays election recount request

Moldova's Constitutional Court on Saturday postponed for one day a hearing on the president's request for a recount of the vote in disputed parliamentary elections won by the president's Communist Party.

The result led to violent protests in the former Soviet republic and opposition parties called a new rally for Sunday to denounce what they described as arbitrary detentions and the mistreatment of demonstrators.

President Vladimir Voronin, whose Communist Party ended the elections on Sunday far ahead of its rivals, says the pro-Western and liberal opposition had plotted a coup.

He has also accused neighbouring Romania of fomenting the turmoil, in which protesters ransacked parliament and the president's office. But he offered the recount on grounds that it would restore trust and calm.

The court said it would consider his request on Sunday provided it received official results from election officials.

"At this stage we have not received the necessary documents from the Central Election Commission," court chairman Dumitru Pulbere told reporters in the court's session hall.

He said the commission had promised to deliver official results on Sunday morning and the Court would then sit.

"We are trying to work as quickly as possible. There is no precedent of a recount in Moldova since independence in 1991," Pulbere said. "In any case, we have 10 days to validate the election results."

Eight of the court's nine judges have been appointed under Voronin since 2001 and the court is likely to back the request.

Election officials say the Communists, who also want closer integration with the West but maintain good ties with Moscow, won nearly 50 percent of the vote.

Parliament elects president

That would give them 60 seats, one short of the number required to secure the election of their candidate when the 101-seat assembly chooses a new president.

Voronin cannot serve a third term, but has said he wants to remain in a decision-making role.

Voronin has moved closer to the Kremlin recently and applauded its efforts to help resolve an 18-year-old separatist rebellion in Moldova's Russian-speaking Transdniestria region.

Though most of Moldova was once part of Romania and the two neighbours share a linguisitic and cultural heritage, it also has longstanding ties with Russia.

In Brussels, the European Union's Commissioner for External relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, welcomed a "consensus" on a recount. "I encourage all concerned parties to engage into dialogue in a constructive spirit," she said in a statement.

After a phone conversation with Voronin, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the EU supported Moldova in its mission to get closer to the 27-nation bloc.

"In this regard, further consolidation of democratic processes and institutions is key," said a statement issued by Solana's office.

Three opposition parties that won seats want a new election and dismiss the proposed recount as a meaningless gesture meant to distract attention from mass fraud on voters' lists.

The parties, which have tried to distance themselves from Tuesday's violence, planned to meet Western ambassadors later in the day and called a new rally for Sunday morning.

"We demand that Communist authorities immediately end acts of terror against children and young people, free those who have been detained and conduct normal legal procedures," they said.

They appealed to the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to conduct an inquiry into the election and the protests. According to official figures, nearly 200 people have been detaineed.

Vlad Filat of the Liberal Democrats said many detainees were being held incommunicado and some had been beaten.

Romania, whose ambassador was expelled this week, demanded authorites in Chisinau reveal the number of detentions and allow journalists to enter the country freely.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Nisan 2009, 14:23