Moldovan man arrested during protests dies in hospital

Moldova President Vladimir VoroninChisinau/Moscow - A 23-year-old man who was arrested by police in anti-government protests in Moldova earlier in the week has died in hospital, according to reports Sunday. The man had been beaten in detention, leading to his death, the Interfax news agency reported, quoting the protestor's parents. Police denied knowledge of the case.

Moldova's opposition meanwhile on Sunday called another large rally.

Protests in the capital Chisinau against the Communist election win on Tuesday turned violent, with some 270 people injured and about 200 arrested.

By Friday, demonstrations in the former Soviet republic were muted, with few seeming willing to risk detention or even arrest at police checkpoints on major roads leading to the city centre.

President Vladimir Voronin on Friday met a key opposition demand by calling for a recount of the April 5 vote, in a formal letter to Moldova's Supreme Court.

The country's election commission on Saturday issued slightly corrected returns which improved the showing of the opposition. The new figures show that Voronin's ruling Communist Party can no longer expect to elect a new president without getting votes from the opposition.

Under the constitution, Voronin after two straight terms of office may not run for a new term.

In the initiala returns, the Communist Party of Moldova captured 50 per cent of the vote in the Sunday poll, giving the Communists 60 seats in the 101-seat legislature.

Three opposition parties that also obtained sufficient support to place members of parliament (MPs) in parliament have alleged vote fraud by the Communists.

Western election observers judged that the parliamentary elections were democratically held, though with some flaws. (dpa)