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Moldovan election commission to end vote recount Thursday


CHISINAU, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - Moldova's Central Election Commission (CEC) will end a recount of votes from the April 5 parliamentary election contested by the opposition on Thursday, the CEC head said Wednesday.

"There are a few polling stations remaining, where the recount is to be completed Thursday morning due to technical reasons," Yevgeny Shtirbu said. "The recount results will most likely be made public in the next few days and immediately passed onto the Constitutional Court for approval."

The recount was started Wednesday. The decision to recount votes was made by the Constitutional Court on Sunday at the request of President Vladimir Voronin, who chairs the ruling Communist Party.

Election commission chief Yury Chokan said earlier Wednesday that some 20,000 members of regional electoral bodies are involved in the recount, and that the process is being observed by international monitors.

The Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party and Our Moldova alliance said in a joint statement earlier in the week that major violations took place during the April election in the compiling of lists of eligible voters. The opposition claimed that some 400,000 voters had been unlawfully registered to vote.

However, observers from Europe's main election monitoring body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, gave their overall endorsement to the voting process.

"The 5 April 2009 parliamentary elections took place in an overall pluralistic environment, offering voters distinct political alternatives and meeting many of the OSCE and Council of Europe commitments," a statement released after the election said.

However, the OSCE noted that "voter registration lacked uniformity and an adequate legal framework."

President Voronin's Communist Party won almost 50% in the April 5 polls. Voronin is due to step down on May 7, but his party won just enough seats in parliament to be able to elect a successor without requiring votes from any other party.

Protests originally led by the opposition turned violent last week, when some 10,000 rioters, mainly students, broke into the presidential residence and parliament in the capital, Chisinau. Several hundred protesters and police were injured in the violence.

Voronin urged a full recount on Saturday "to find a way out of the political deadlock, and restore an atmosphere of stability and trust in the newly elected parliament."

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