Moldova set for turmoil with no parliamentary majority

CHISINAU: Torn between the EU and Moscow, ex-Soviet Moldova elected a parliament with no clear majority, results showed on Monday, potentially throwing the impoverished country into political turmoil. The inconclusive result will make coalition talks difficult and could lead to protests or even another election within weeks.
After a chaotic weekend vote marked by accusations of fraud, the pro-Russian Socialist Party won the largest share of the vote, taking over 31 per cent. But under a new electoral system that divides the 101-seat parliament into seats elected by party lists and individual constituencies, Moldova’s ruling Democratic party won the most seats.
Led by powerful oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, the Democratic party won 23.9 per cent of the vote but took 34 seats, three more than the socialists.
The pro-European ACUM alliance, which wants Moldova to seek closer ties with the European Union, came second with 26 per cent. It took 23 seats.
A party led by a businessman convicted of billion-dollar fraud, Ilan Shor, won 8.46 per cent of the vote — taking eight seats in parliament.
Only Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party has said it is ready to enter coalition talks.
President Igor Dodon’s Socialists and the pro-European opposition have ruled out working with other parties.
On Sunday, pro-Brussels alliance leader Andrei Nastase said his party will only enter a coalition “with the people of Moldova” and that his supporters were “ready to defend their rights on the street”.
Both Dodon and Nastase accused the ruling Democrats of massive election fraud that involved bringing in people from Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria and telling them how to vote.
Nastase alleged that “they (the ruling party) are bussing in vulnerable people ripe for corruption.”
The Democratic Party in turn said the socialists offered bribes to residents of Transnistria to back their candidates.
The election campaign was chaotic, with ACUM leaders at one point claiming they were poisoned and Russian authorities accusing Plahotniuc of running a vast money-laundering scheme in 2013-2014.
The elections were “generally well run,” the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitored the voting, said on Monday. The polls were “competitive and fundamental rights were respected,” OSCE special coordinator George Tsereteli told a televised press conference in Chisinau. — AFP