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15 Apr, 2009 08:30

Vote recount underway in Moldova

A recount of votes from the recent parliamentary election is underway in Moldova. The move was suggested by Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin after the violent protests held by opposition parties last week.

Moldova’s head of the Electoral Commission Yury Chokan said that some 20,000 members of regional electoral bodies are involved in the recount and that the process is being observed by international monitors.

The decision to recount votes was made by the Constitutional Court on Sunday at the request of President Vladimir Voronin, who chairs the ruling Communist Party.

Opposition parties in Moldova demand the results of April 5 elections to be declared invalid and new elections held, saying that about 400,000 voters had been unlawfully registered on the electoral roll.

“The opposition parties have gathered sufficient evidence of vote rigging,” said Vlad Filat, Liberal-Democratic Party leader.

He went on to say that the names of people, who died a long time ago, were on voter lists, as well as minors and citizens who have been residing abroad.

“All that was organized by the Communists with assistance from the Information Development Ministry, which has the database,” the politician said.

The Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and Our Moldova alliance announced that they will not send their representatives to oversee the vote recount, ordered by the constitutional court after several days of riots.

“We do not see any reason to participate in this procedure,” Our Moldova opposition alliance spokesman Viktor Osipov told Interfax. “Communist leader Vladimir Voronin came up with this imitative in order to distract attention from the real rigging of votes, which happened when voter lists were prepared.”

Last week angry crowds stormed parliament buildings in the capital Chisinau to protest the parliamentary election results, which brought victory to the Communist party. Authorities blame neighboring Romania for igniting the riots.

Romanian journos under fire?

Moldova’s authorities have ordered Doru Dendiu, a correspondent from the Romania-1 TV channel, to leave the country.

The journalist told his colleagues that he was deprived of accreditation on the grounds of Article 18 of the Regulations on activities of foreign correspondents, according to Interfax news agency.

“I would like to say that I have worked in the Republic of Moldova for two years and have always complied with all the laws,” Dendiu said.

Last week, three other Romanian correspondents were also ordered out of Moldova.

Currently no Romanian journalists are left in Chisinau. They have either been deported or left themselves.

Romania denies involvement in Moldovan rallies

Romania's president has denied accusations by Moldovan officials that Romania could be behind recent anti-government protests in the country.

”Lately, there have been ungrounded and unacceptable accusations towards Romania on Moldova’s part,” Traian Basescu said. “This way Moldovan authorities are trying to justify the failure of their policy and to return their country to communism.”

He told parliament that Romania has no territorial claims on neighboring Moldova and criticized what he says are repressive actions by Moldovan authorities.

Mass Moldovan exodus to Romania in near future?

More than 600,000 Moldovans have filed applications for obtaining Romanian citizenship, according to Cătălin Predoiu, Minister of Justice and Citizenship Freedoms of Romania.

All those applications will be considered and “their number is a very good signal,” she is quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Romanian President Traian Băsescu said this figure may even reach 800,000 as “from 65 to 70% of Moldova’s population are Romanians.”

He added that just a small number of Moldavians who obtain Romanian citizenship stay in Romania. Despite that, Moldova’s younger generation wants to work and study in Europe and in Romania as well.

Moldova’s total population is just under five million people, and approximately 600,000 of them work abroad.

Giving a speech in parliament, Băsescu pointed out that there is a necessity to change the laws concerning granting citizenship, and to Moldova’s citizens in the first place.