Moldova's Parliament has failed to approve a new government because too few lawmakers turned up for the vote, prolonging the political instability in the former Soviet republic.

Forty-seven lawmakers were present Monday to vote for Premier-elect Ion Sturza, a businessman and former premier with a pro-European outlook, but it was three short of the number needed.

President Nicolae Timofti will nominate another candidate for prime minister, whom Parliament must approve by Jan. 29. Failing that, Parliament will be dissolved and there will be early elections.

Moldova has been mired in instability largely related to the disappearance of up to $1.5 billion from three banks before 2014 parliamentary elections. The country had five prime ministers during 2014.

Parliament dismissed the previous government over allegations of corruption in late October.