Moldova crisis deepens amid early election bid
The Russian foreign ministry says it welcomes the formation of a coalition government in Moldova, which might help to restore good relations with Moscow.
The ministry said it hoped the situation in Moldova would stabilise after Russian ally, President Igor Dodon, was temporarily relieved of his duties by a Moldovan court, allowing an interim head of state to call an early election.
Dodon’s dismissal escalated a political crisis stemming from an inconclusive February general election in one of Europe’s poorest countries.
The Moldovan courts stepped in after political parties signed up to an alliance to form a government.
The coalition said it was formed tackle Moldova’s oligarchies.
The ongoing crisis, combined with entrenched corruption and low living standards, has pushed many of the 3.5 million Moldovans to leave for Russia or neighbouring Romania.
A deadline to form a government was due to expire at the weekend with an alliance that was formed between the pro-European Union Acum bloc and the pro-Russian Socialist Party of Dodon.
Acum’s head, Maia Sandu, a former minister and World Bank adviser, was named prime minister on Saturday afternoon.
But outgoing prime minister Pavel Filip’s party challenged the deal and the Constitutional Court intervened to appoint him as an interim president.
Filip then announced the dissolution of parliament and an early election.
Parliament refused to accept his order, saying the state institutions had been seized.
The Constitutional Court relieved Dodon of his duties because of his refusal to dissolve the parliament after Acum and Dodon’s Socialists agreed to an unlikely deal to form a government.
Their opponents claim the formation happened the day after a constitutional deadline expired, which Acum and the Socialists dispute.
Filip’s Democratic Party, led by Moldova’s richest man Vladimir Plahotniuc, later filed a legal challenge which was backed by the Constitutional Court.
More than 10,000 of the party’s supporters held a protest calling Dodon a “traitor” and demanding his resignation.
“Injustice has come to an end today in Moldova,” Sandu said. “Today begins the process of the purification of Moldova.”
Dodon said the court was not politically independent and accused the Democrats of trying to cling to power. He called on the international community to step in.
“Moldovan citizens with different views on domestic and foreign policy can unite for the sake of a common goal: liberation of the Republic of Moldova from the criminal, dictatorial regime,” Dodon announced.
Both parties passed a parliamentary motion saying that “oligarchs” were keeping Moldova “captive”.
“The oligarchs have established a dictatorship driven by manipulation, terror, lies and disinformation. The country is wallowing in corruption,” the motion said.
Moldova is small and poor. Picture credit: Wikimedia