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21 Sep, 2010 08:44

Constitutional court orders Moldovan parliament to disband

The parliament of Moldova, which failed to elect a new president of the country, now has to be disbanded, the national Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

“The ruling of the Constitutional Court is binding and final, coming into force after its official publication. Now the acting president of Moldova can and must sign a decree to dissolve the parliament and set a date for an early election,” Dmitry Pulbere, the chairman of the court announced.

The new parliamentary election is expected in late November.

Moldova’s parliament has been deadlocked between the influential Communist Party and an alliance of liberal and national parties. Bitter opposition between the two sides prevented each from succeeding in making its candidate become the new president, who is elected by MPs in Moldova. The constitution says deputies are allowed two attempts to elect the head of state before the parliament is dissolved. Both attempts – on October 23, 2009 and on December 7, 2009 – failed.

A national referendum on amendments to the Moldovan Constitution held on September 5 brought no result either: it was declared invalid due to low voter turnout. The citizens were to decide if the president should be elected directly, or – as it is now – by the parliament. The ruling four-party coalition, Alliance for European Integration, suggested the referendum in an attempt to put an end to the political stalemate that has left the former Soviet republic with only an interim president for more than a year.

The pro-Western coalition came to power in July 2009 following eight years of Communist rule. Back in April 2009, after the communists gained victory in the parliamentary vote, the opposition accused them of rigging the vote. That was despite the fact that the Central Election Committee confirmed the results, and international observers declared the elections were fair.

Thousands took to the streets of the capital Chisinau. The protest rally turned violent and the crowd stormed the presidential palace and parliament, burning and damaging everything on their way. Days of unrest resulted in hundreds or people injured. In July 2009, a second election was held bringing the opposition to power.

After ex-President and Communist leader Vladimir Voronin’s resignation in September last year, the Parliamentary Speaker and Head of the Liberal Party Mihai Ghimpu has remained acting president.