Moldova's acting president said on Wednesday he wanted to call a referendum to change the constitution of one of Europe's poorest countries and pull it out of a year-long political crisis.
Moldova is in the grip of uncertainty after the powerful communist parliamentary bloc in December torpedoed plans by the ruling Alliance for European Integration for parliament to elect its candidate as state president.
Acting President Mihai Ghimpu, an anti-communist, heads the centre-right Liberal party in the coalition and said changing the constitution offered a way out of the stalemate.
"If the communist party refuses to participate in the election of the president, we should change the article (of the constitution) concerning his election," Ghimpu told Reuters.
Since the communist opposition also refused to reform the constitution by parliamentary means, "it is the citizens who should decide by referendum," Ghimpu said.
Reforms would allow a president to be elected by simple parliamentary majority on a one-off basis and thereafter by elections by the people.
The communists are calling for parliament to be dissolved after the end of June and for early parliamentary elections to be held.
Ghimpu, in Strasbourg with coalition representatives to consult the European Commission for Democracy through Law or Venice Commission, said a referendum could be held swiftly with a president elected in the autumn.
In December, the communist group in parliament staged a walk-out denying Marian Lupu, candidate for the Western-leaning Aliance, the majority required to be elected president.
Another parliamentary ballot is not possible and the outcome of the boycott by the communists means that much-needed reform in the small ex-Soviet country of 4.1 million is being shelved.
ReutersLast Mod: 05 Mayıs 2010, 23:22