CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — The new, pro-European Union mayor of Moldova's capital called Monday for the former Soviet republic to renew efforts to form a pro-European government.
Dorin Chirtoaca, who is also deputy chairman of the Liberal Party, told Radio Chisinau that Moldova should have a new government in place by the end of August to avoid an early election.
Parliament has until Sept. 12 to approve a new government after former Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici resigned June 12 amid a probe into the authenticity of his high school and university degrees.
"Today a new pro-European offensive starts from Chisinau and in all of Moldova," the 38-year-old Chirtoaca said. "The pro-European path should go all the way."
Sunday's local elections were seen as a test of whether Moldova moves closer to the EU or to Russia.
Chirtoaca's victory was a boost for Moldova's pro-European parties, who hold have 55 of the 101 seats in Parliament yet struggle to remain united. Pro-European parties won 17 counties Sunday while parties that want more cooperation with Moscow took 11 counties.
Final results gave Chirtoaca 53.5 percent of the vote to 46.5 percent for his pro-Russian challenger, Zinaida Greceanai, a former prime minister.
Moldova, which declared independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union broke up, lies between Romania and Ukraine. Last year, it signed an association agreement with the 28-nation EU, angering Russia, which then banned some of Moldova's fruits and vegetables. That hurt the largely agricultural nation of 4 million people, one of Europe's poorest.
Chirtoaca, who won another four-year mandate, has been mayor of this city of 1 million since 2007.
However, leader of the Socialists' Party, Igor Dodon, claimed the ballot was flawed by irregularities.
Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.