Boycott Ruins Moldova's Constitution Referendum
Moldova's referendum on whether to change its constitution, which took place on Sunday, has failed because of low turnout largely caused by a boycott of the Communist Party.
The referendum was supposed to lead to a decision on whether to change the constitution in order to have the Moldovan people elect directly their president, and thus end the country's 1.5-year political stalemate.
The president is currently elected by the parliament in which the communists and the the reformist alliance of four parties have parity; the latter bloc failed to get the necessary 61 votes. After the general elections of 2009, which were held after street protests and turmoil, the communists have 48 MPs out of 101 seats, while the Alliance for European Integration has 53. The acting president of Moldova is the parliament chair Mihai Ghimpu.
Even though almost 90% of the cast votes were in favor of a direct election of the president in Moldova, the referendum was declared void because it failed to surpass the needed 33% turnout.
The low turnout is believed to have much to do with the call by the former president of Moldova and communist party leader Vladimir Voronin to boycott the referendum. Thus, only about 29.6% of the eligible voters went to the polls on Saturday.
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