(Reuters) - Moldova’s president accused the opposition of attempting a violent coup on Tuesday after protesters denouncing an election win by his ruling Communist Party ransacked his offices and parliament.
Following are some key facts about Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin.
* Voronin, 67, was born into a peasant family. After graduating from a Chisinau vocational school, he became the director of a bakery in a rural district.
He later rose through the ranks of the Soviet Communist Party, finally rising to the post of Moldovan Interior Minister in 1989-90.
* In 1989, a crowd of pro-Romanian protestors clashed with the police before ransacking and setting Voronin’s ministry on fire. Voronin had Soviet Interior Ministry troops stationed in central Chisinau at his disposal but decided not to shoot on THE protesters.
Voronin drew a parallel with those events in a speech to the government on Tuesday, after protesters ransacked his offices and set the parliament building alight.
* Voronin’s Communist Party won the parliamentary election in 2001 and selected him as Moldovan president.
Voronin, who came to power on promises of better ties with Moscow, said before the 2005 election that his main aim was to bring Moldova closer to Europe and accused Russia of helping separatists in Moldova’s Russian-speaking Transdniestria region, which broke away in 1990.
But Moldova’s ties with Russia have improved over recent months after President Dmitry Medvedev tried to play a more active role in settling the Transdniestria conflict.
* Moldova shares ethnic, cultural and historic heritage with neighboring European Union member Romania. But under Voronin ties between Chisinau and Bucharest worsened after the Moldovan leader repeatedly complained that Romania still hoped to absorb Moldova.
On Tuesday, Moldova said it was recalling its ambassador to Romania for consultations on the events.
* Voronin’s second four-year term expires when the new parliament elects a president. The constitution bars him from seeking a third term. He has made it clear he wants to stay close to power and become a “Moldovan Deng Xiaoping,” who continued to wield huge influence in China after stepping down from top official posts.
Voronin might make a move similar to that of Vladimir Putin, who became Russia’s prime minister after stepping down as president. (Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Andrew Roche)