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Moldova court orders poll recount

Demonstration in Chisinau - photo 12 April
Sunday's protests focused on alleged police violence

The Constitutional Court in Moldova has ordered a recount of the country's parliamentary election results, after days of anti-government protests.

The initial count after last Sunday's election was won by Moldova's ruling Communists, with almost 50% of votes.

But opposition groups have dismissed calls for a recount, saying it is an attempt to mask election fraud.

Several thousand people are protesting in the capital Chisinau against alleged police violence earlier in the week.

Demonstrations against the election result turned violent on Tuesday, when protesters broke into government buildings.

One student protester died afterwards. His family say he was beaten by the police, but they say his death was caused by gas used to control the crowds.

'Unanimous and definitive'

The president of the Constitutional Court, Dumitru Pulbere, said that the recount must take place within the next nine days.

Moldova map

"The decision was unanimous and is definitive," he said, quoted by Reuters news agency.

He added that the recount would also involve an examination of voters' lists, one of the opposition's demands.

Opposition groups say infringements include the insertion of the names of long-dead residents on electoral lists. They are demanding a fresh election.

Despite the opposition claims, observers from the European security body, the OSCE, concluded that the vote had been generally fair.

However, unrest during the week prompted President Vladimir Voronin to ask for a recount.



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