Marian Lupu failed to gain the support of any Communists
Moldova's parliament has failed in its latest attempt to choose a president, increasing the likelihood of a third general election in less than a year.
The opposition Communists refused to take part in the vote for Marian Lupu, the pro-Western coalition's candidate.
The coalition only holds 53 of the 101 seats in parliament - short of the 61 required to elect a president.
Europe's poorest nation has been in crisis since elections in April sparked massive street protests and riots.
The ruling Communists claimed victory in that poll, prompting thousands of people to descend on parliament in anger at alleged rigging.
Opposition parties ousted the Communists in a re-run of the vote in July.
They formed a pro-Western government, with Vlad Filat as prime minister.
But the Communists won 48 seats - enough to prevent parliament electing a new president.
With continuing stalemate between the two sides, analysts say new elections early in 2010 may become inevitable.