September 5, 2010 / 9:32 AM / in 8 years

Timeline: Moldova holds referendum on presidential poll

CHISINAU, (Reuters) - Here is a timeline of political events since 2009 elections in Moldova, Europe’s poorest country:

* APRIL 2009 ELECTION:

April 5, 2009 - The ruling Communists win 60 seats in an election. Three liberal opposition parties, broadly in favor of closer ties with the European Union, win a combined 41 seats in the 101-seat chamber and reject a coalition with the Communists.

April 7 - About 10,000 youths denouncing the Communist victory pillage the president’s offices and parliament after an earlier peaceful protest. One protester dies, dozens are hurt and nearly 200 are detained.

— Outgoing President Vladimir Voronin says the opposition tried to stage a “coup.” He accuses neighboring Romania of encouraging the violence.

May 12 - Voronin is elected Speaker of parliament, a position analysts say he would use to wield power after stepping down as president after his two terms.

May 13 - The Communists nominate then Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii, Voronin’s close ally, to replace him as president.

June 3 - Greceanii falls one vote short in parliament in the second of two votes. A snap election is later called.

* JULY ELECTION:

July 29 - Four pro-Western parties beat the Communists, winning 53 seats in parliament. They form a coalition called the Alliance for European Integration.

August 28 - Parliament elects Mihai Ghimpu as Speaker.

September 11 - Voronin steps down, ending eight years of Communist rule in Europe’s poorest nation.

September 25 - Parliament approves a new Western-leaning government with a program to join the European mainstream.

October 15 - A grenade explodes at a crowded concert in the main square of Chisinau, hurting at least 40 people.

November 10 - Parliament fails to elect Lupu as president after a Communist walkout leaves the four-party governing coalition short of vital votes.

— The Communist boycott left only the 53 deputies in the Alliance to take part in the vote — eight short of the 61 required for a president to be elected.

December 7 - The Communists boycott a second and final vote for Lupu, meaning that acting president Mihai Ghimpu is likely to dissolve parliament in 2010 and call an election.

May 5, 2010 - Ghimpu says he wants to call a referendum to change the constitution and pull it out of a year-long political crisis.

July 7 - Parliament gives the go-ahead for a referendum to be held on September 5 to decide whether the president of the country should be elected by a popular vote.

August 19 - Ghimpu says he will not dissolve parliament if voters reject direct presidential elections in the referendum.

September 5 - Referendum on vote for president.

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