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Moldova tries to break east-west stalemate

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Moldova tries to break east-west stalemate

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The ex-Soviet Republic of Moldova will use another election today to try again to break the political deadlock that has left the country without a president, and torn between the EU and Russia.

It is the third parliamentary vote in barely a year and a half.

Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s fragile coalition has been steering a pro-Europe course. He says that reforms backed by the EU, the US, the IMF and the World Bank should continue, and Moldova should not return to the past.

Marian Lupu, from one of the ruling parties would have been president, but he failed to win enough backers in parliament.

The coalition has been trying to follow neighbouring Romania’s path and make Moldova eligible for EU membership. But Russia’s influence is still strong.

Moscow is counting on the emergence of a left-of-centre alliance, including the opposition communists.

Their popularity has been declining, although nostaligia for Soviet times keeps their support high in rural areas.

Unreliable opinion polls make the outcome hard to predict.