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Europe

Recount of disputed Moldova vote changes nothing

A recount of votes in Moldova’s disputed election has had no effect on results that saw the Communist Party maintain its grip on power, an election official said on Friday.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin

Voronin is Europe's first democratically elected communist head of state

"The recount will have no effect on the seats in parliament that have already been announced," the head of the Central Election Commission, Iurie Ciocan, told the AFP news agency, basing his comments on initial results from the recount.

"The relative strengths of the parties and the number of seats won will remain the same."

Ciocan said, however, that results would not be officially released ahead of the long weekend when Orthodox Moldovans celebrate Easter.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin called a week ago, for a full recount of the parliamentary election votes. The election was marred by claims of voter fraud and Voronin claimed that a recount would help restore stability to his country.

Moldovan demonstrators clash with riot police during an anti-communist rally

Scores were injured and arrested in the anti-Communist Party riots

The opposition maintain that the ballot was rigged, saying that recounting fraudulent ballots could only yield fraudulent results.

Anti-communist riots

Anti-Communist Party protesters - with crowds of students in the former Soviet republic denouncing the alleged electoral fraud - smashed their way into parliament and set it ablaze 10 days ago.

The authorities responded with a crackdown and mass arrests. The riots left more than 90 people injured and led to 200 people being taken into custody.

After the vote, the Central Electoral Commission had announced that the Communists had remained the strongest party despite losing their parliamentary majority, taking 60 seats in the 101-member parliament. That was revised downward from an initial count of 61 seats.

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