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Moldovan Court Orders Vote Recount


Moldova's Constitutional Court has authorized a recount of last week's disputed parliamentary election results, which sparked violent protests in the eastern European country's capital, Chisinau.

The court decision Sunday follows a recount request from President Vladimir Voronin, who is seeking to maintain order in the tense capital in the aftermath of Tuesday's rioting.

Court chief Dumitru Pubelere says recount procedures will also include an examination of voter lists.

The opposition has accused the Voronin government of massive poll fraud, insisting voter lists were packed with the names of unregistered or deceased people. For his part, the president accused neighboring Romania of sparking the protests, before expelling the Romanian ambassador Wednesday.

Mr. Voronin's Communist Party won 60 seats in the 101-member legislature, leaving the communists one seat less than needed to vote in the next president without help from other parties.

President Voronin is scheduled to leave office this month after two terms.

Rioters ransacked Moldova's parliament building and presidential offices Tuesday to protest the election results. Police say they arrested about 200 protesters, after street battles that left scores of people injured, including some riot police.

The Interior Ministry confirmed Sunday a 23-year student died in the aftermath of the rioting. The student's family said he died Friday after being beaten while under arrest. However, the French news agency quotes police as saying the demonstrator died from gas used for crowd control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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