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Moldovan Opposition to Boycott Vote Recount

Moldovan opposition party leaders say they will boycott a vote recount of parliamentary election returns set for Wednesday in the capital, Chisinau.

Leaders of the three main opposition parties: Our Moldova, the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democratic Party, said Tuesday the vote was a sham to cover up election violations and to ensure the continuation of Communist Party rule.

The opposition said voter lists for the April 5 polls contained the names of underage or dead voters and citizens who have lived abroad for many years.

Official results show President Vladimir Voronin's Communist Party won about 50 percent of the vote, and the three main opposition parties 35 percent.

That gave the communists 60 seats in the 101-member legislature - one short of the number needed to ensure that parliament elects their candidate as the next president.

President Voronin called for the recount, saying it would help restore stability to the ex-Soviet state. He is set to retire this month after two terms.

Rioting erupted in Chisinau last week, as protesters ransacked the parliament building and set it on fire. Police reported about 200 arrests and said scores of people, including riot police, were injured. They said one person died in the aftermath of the rioting.

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