updated 3/7/2005 4:03:55 AM ET 2005-03-07T09:03:55

Moldova’s governing pro-Western Communists won a parliamentary majority in national elections, but fell short of taking enough seats to re-elect President Vladimir Voronin, according to results released Monday.

With nearly 99 percent of the votes counted, Voronin’s Communists had some 46 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, down from the 50 percent the party polled in the 2001 elections, the Central Electoral Commission said.

The centrist Democratic Moldova Bloc won about 28 percent of the vote, almost double the 14 percent won by bloc member Braghis Alliance in the previous election. The center-right Popular Christian Democratic Party won nearly 10 percent of the vote, slightly more than it got in 2001.

Only the three parties, out of 15 vying for 101 seats, managed to get enough votes to enter Parliament.

Under Romanian election law, the remaining 16 percent of the vote — split between 12 parties that did not get enough votes to win parliamentary seats — would be redistributed among the three parties that won seats.

The Communists were projected to win 56 seats, which would be enough to form a government. However, they would fall five seats short of the minimum 61 parliamentary seats, or three-fifths majority, needed to choose the president. Parliament has 45 days to choose the president, after which it must hold new parliamentary elections.

The Communists expressed muted satisfaction, but members said they would wait for final results expected Wednesday before deciding on any possible political alliance.

“I have to be happy in the name of our party that we got this result,” said Victor Stepaniuc, who headed the Communists’ election campaign.

The Communists were expected to try to lure some defectors from the more moderate Democratic Moldova Bloc, which was projected to have 33 seats in the new parliament.

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