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Moldovan parliament begins president election session

March 16, 2012, 11:48 UTC+3

Mass protests have continued in the country for more than a month

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CHISINAU, March 16 (Itar-Tass) — Moldova’s parliament on Friday meets for a special session dedicated to the election of the country’s president. The session began earlier than planned initially, at 08:00 a.m. local time (10:00 a.m. Moscow time), to avoid clashed between supporters of the opposition and the authorities expected in front of the parliament building at noon.

“For the first time, the lawmakers will vote using a special stamp reading “Presidential Elections-2012.” To vote against the candidate will only have to cross his name out in the ballot paper, and those who would vote for the candidate will have to affix the stamp in a circle to the right of the candidate’s name,” chairman of the parliamentary commission on the presidential election Tudor Deliu said. The novelty, in his words, was introduced because there is only one candidate for Moldovan president, Chairman of the Superior Council of Magistrates of Moldova Nicolae Timofti, and it is necessary to discriminate between the “for” and “against” votes.

To secure public order in downtown Chisinau, the government has enhanced security measures. The parliament building has been fenced off and police cordons have been installed around it. “Those who try to hamper the elections will be punished in accordance with law,” Prime Minister Vlad Filat warned.

The lawmakers are trying to find a way out of the protracted political crisis, when the parliament has been failing to elect a president for the third year running. Now, the only candidate is Nicolae Timofti, who has secured support of 59 lawmakers from the Democratic, Liberal and Liberal-Democratic parties that make up the ruling coalition Alliance for European Integration. Timofty may score the necessary 61 votes if Igor Dodon’s group of three Socialist lawmakers, who quitted the opposition Communist Party, supports him. Meanwhile, Dodon told Tass that he would voice the party’s decision about the elections right before the voting.

Mass protests have continued in the country for more than a month. If the president is not elected, the parliament is to be dissolved, and Moldova will have to hold one more early parliamentary election, the third one in the past three years.

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