Communist President Vladimir Voronin has warned Moldova cannot afford a repeat of the violence it witnessed following elections earlier this year.
His comments came as Moldovans went to vote in a parliamentary election that pits the ruling pro-Moscow Communists against an opposition vying for closer ties with the West.
‘‘I do not think that we need to go through this type of scenario again and I do not think that Moldova could put up with such a similar occurrence for a second time,’‘ President Vladimir Voronin said.
The snap vote is taking place because Voronin failed to get his hand-picked successor endorsed by parliament.
The opposition Democratic Party say it is time for him to get out of politics altogether.
“The only message for the President Voronin is, that, according to my personal point of view, it is time for him to leave,” said Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu.
As before, international observers are monitoring the vote. This time, however, opinion polls give the Communists only a 30 percent share, down from the heady heights of 50 percent less than four months ago.
The campaign has been dogged by political mud-slinging with the pro-Western and Romanian backed opposition parties accusing the Communists of dirty tricks. They are expected to pick up a combined 33 percent, if the polls are to be believed.
Last April’s vote saw widespread unrest with thousands of opposition supporters taking to the streets of the capital Chisinau. Mostly young, they ransacked parliament and destroyed the president’s offices.