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Moldovan Communists one vote short of electing president-2


(Adds Voronin's statement in para. 5)

CHISINAU, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Moldova's ruling Communist Party failed to see its candidate elected as the country's new president on Wednesday, falling one vote short in a parliamentary ballot.

Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii, nominated by the Communists for the post, received 60 votes in the 101-seat parliament.

The 41 opposition members of parliament walked out of the chamber to boycott the vote.

Speaker Vladimir Voronin, the Communist Party leader who recently stepped down as the country's president as he could not run for a third term, announced that a second ballot would be held on May 28.

"The result of the presidential election was not unexpected and the Communist Party was ready for such a development," Voronin said, adding that the party intended to put forward Greceanii's candidacy again.

If the second vote fails, the parliament must be dissolved and a new parliamentary election held.

The opposition, represented in parliament by the Liberal Party, the Liberal-Democratic Party and the Our Moldova alliance, has repeatedly stated its refusal to cooperate with the Communists inside or outside of parliament.

The Communists' victory in the April 5 election, which gave the ruling party 49.48% of the vote, sparked protests that turned violent in the capital, Chisinau.

Protests originally led by the opposition spiraled out of control when some 10,000 rioters broke into the presidential residence and parliament. Several hundred protesters and police were injured in the violence.

A number of opposition parties claimed major violations during the voting and said some 400,000 people had been unlawfully registered to vote.

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

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