The Communist President Vladimir Voronin of Moldova has said that he is ready for dialogue ‘with all political forces represented in the new parliament.’

Mr Voronin's Communist Party won the greatest number of votes in the election yesterday, but the expected total of 48 seats in the new parliament was less than the total 53 seats garnered by the four main opposition parties.

Before the election the Communist leader had sharply criticised pro-Western opposition politicians and accused them of destabilising Moldova.

The elections took place less than four months after the last polls, which were marred by deadly post-election violence after the opposition accused the Communists of vote rigging.

The new parliament must choose a successor to President Voronin, who has been in power since 2001 but must step down after serving the maximum permitted two four-year terms.