It is looking increasingly likely that a referendum in Moldova — to choose how the President is elected — will be declared null and void because so few people turned out.
They were supposed to be deciding whether to ditch the present system — where the head of state is chosen by parliament — and elect their president by popular vote instead.
But turnout has failed to reach the minimum one-third of the electorate needed.
The secretary of Moldova’s electoral commission Iurie Ciocan said: “From the data we have I can tell that the turnout in the referendum is 29.67 per cent. It means 789 thousand 407 voters took part in the vote according to the data we have at the moment.”
It is a blow for the government. The Alliance for European Integration, which leans towards the west, said the referendum was the way to end Moldova’s political logjam.
The opposition Communists though had made a powerful appeal for the electorate to boycott the vote.
The failure of the referendum could lead to the dissolution of parliament.