Parliamentary election results in Moldova show that a pro-Western alliance could form a government but has fallen short of the necessary majority to elect a president. The alliance is pushing hard for EU membership.
Moldova is between East and West - not just geographically
With about 95 percent of the votes counted on Monday, three liberal parties of Molodovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat's ruling Alliance for European Integration had more than 50 percent of the vote.
That amounts to 57 seats for the ruling liberal coalition - still four seats short of the 61 needed in Moldova's 101-seat assembly to overcome Communist Party resistance to a pro-Western president who could pull Europe's poorest state away from its Soviet past and toward the European Union.
The opposition Communists are the strongest party with about 41 percent of the vote, and has secured 44 seats in parliament.
Moldova's ruling four-party coalition had sought in the past 15 months to move the country closer to Europe after eight years of Communist rule. But the powerful Communist opposition has been blocking efforts to elect a president.
The communists twice blocked the Alliance's candidate for president last year and in September blocked attempts by the Alliance to switch to electing the president by a national vote rather than by parliament.
The country's political stalemate and resulting lack of a president has kept Moldova, a which aspires to join the European Union, from reforms which the EU says are needed to join the bloc.
Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (REUTERS, dpa, AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold