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Communists lead Moldovan elections

  • Story Highlights
  • First ballot since post-election riots rocked the country in April
  • Ruling Communist Party in Moldova was accused of fraud
  • Midweek ballot criticized as discriminating against people working abroad
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(CNN) -- Communists hold a commanding lead -- but short of a majority -- in Moldovan parliamentary elections, state media reported Thursday.

Wednesday's snap poll was the first ballot since post-election riots rocked the country in April, when the ruling Communist Party was accused of fraud.

With 98 percent of the parliamentary vote counted by the Central Electoral Commission, the Communist Party led with 45.1 percent. The Liberal Democratic Party followed with 16.4 percent; the Liberal Party with 14.4 percent; the Democratic Party with 12.6 percent; and Our Moldova Alliance with 7.4 percent. A collection of smaller parties held less than 5 percent of the rest of the vote.

The preliminary results produced a stalemate scenario -- which means the Communist Party can't set up a ruling coalition, or the opposition parties can't form one of their own.

In April, anti-communist protesters ransacked the parliament building and the presidential offices. The protesters, mostly students, said the election was rigged.

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Government forces reportedly arrested up to 1,000 people, with medical services saying about 40 people died in the violence.

The latest elections -- announced two months ago, but held for the first time on a work day -- were widely criticized as discriminating against people who work outside the country and aren't able to travel for a midweek ballot.

Journalist Alina Radu contributed to this report.

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