Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 17:08 UK

Moldova gets new pro-Western PM

New Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat
Vlad Filat says European integration is an absolute priority

A new pro-Western government has taken office in Moldova after winning the approval of parliament.

Vlad Filat becomes prime minister of the country, which has been paralysed since an election in April sparked street riots amid claims of rigging.

Opposition parties ousted the ruling Communists in a re-run in July.

But a significant obstacle to progress remains the election of a new president, which requires a three-fifths majority of parliament.

The pro-Western coalition only holds 53 of the 101 seats in parliament, so would not be able to elect its candidate without the support of some Communists.

Mr Filat said integration with Europe was "an absolute priority" for his government.

He stopped short of advocating full membership of the EU, but called for Moldova to be granted special partner4ship status, like that enjoyed by Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

The EU presidency responded promptly, saying it "looks forward to starting, as soon as possible, negotiations on a new agreement with Moldova that will replace and go beyond the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement".

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