A round of intensive political horse-trading is on the cards following Moldova’s parliamentary elections.
No party appears able to form a government although, after a partial count, the three pro-EU parties do have a narrow lead over their pro-Moscow rivals.
With nearly 80% of votes counted, the three pro-EU parties had around 44% while the opposition had around 40%.
The subsequent inevitable tough bargaining will be watched closely by Russia.
Liberal Democrat leader Vlad Filat, whose party is the backbone of the pro-European coalition, had the following warning:
“It is necessary to arrange a post-electoral deal and to act very quickly, being conscious that even after the elections pressure against Moldova will continue. It will consist of economic pressure , media pressure, meant to derail our country’s European path.”
Moldova’s pro-Moscow Socialists have surprised many by emerging as the party in pole position but it’s unlikely to find sympathetic partners.
Even so, its leader Gor Dodon extolled voter choice saying they had backed the alternative – “a prosperous Moldova together with a strong Russia”.
The elections have taken place under the shadow of the Ukraine crisis and although Moldova has signed an EU trade deal it has been under Russian pressure to change course.
“The pro-European parties are slightly ahead. Nevertheless that doesn’t seem to preserve Moldova from the risk of destabilisation. That’s the reason why they shall try to enlarge their political base which could support the outgoing pro-EU coalition,” said our reporter in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau, Sergio Cantone.