Friday

22nd Mar 2019

Moldova pro-EU parties seek deal after government collapse

Moldova's three pro-EU parties are seeking to form another government after Prime Minister Vlad Filat lost a confidence vote earlier this week, in a bid to avoid early elections which could bring the pro-Russia Communists back to power.

But the three parties - although hoping to avoid early elections which could bring the pro-Russia Communists back to power - are in dispute.

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  • Moldova PM Vlad Filat: His coalition partners want him out (Photo: Wikipedia)

Filat's Liberal-Democrats insist their man should stay on as prime minister, an idea rejected by the other two parties.

"The no-confidence vote was not against the government, but against the prime minister for abuse of power, for corruption, for smuggling," Filat's ally Mihai Ghimpu, leader of the Liberal party, said on Moldova's public tv on Wednesday (6 March).

He argued that Filat should step down and let others take up the job in order to avoid early elections: "It is not as if Filat was born prime minister. We are here for the people, not for the posts."

Filat, who won praise in the EU for democratic and economic reforms, denies the accusations.

The no-confidence vote was called by Filat's other ally, Marian Lupu who is head of the Democratic Party, after the prime minister sought to change the terms of the coalition agreement. Fifty-four lawmakers in the 101-strong Parliament voted against the government on Tuesday. Filat will have to hand in his resignation on Friday and stay on as caretaker PM until a new government is formed or until early elections take place.

The political feud is a blow to Moldova's hopes to sign an association agreement with the EU later this year. EU diplomats are also worried that if early elections take place, the pro-Russia Communist Party will come back in power.

Back in 2009, the Communists rigged the elections, which prompted mass protests and a repeat of the elections, which brought Filat and his pro-European allies into power.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton "took note" of the no-confidence vote which took place "as Moldova has made substantial progress in its visa liberalisation process and the completion of ambitious negotiations on an EU-Moldova Association Agreement is within sight."

"We call on all the political groups and non-affiliated Members of the Moldovan Parliament to engage in genuine political dialogue without delay, with a view to achieving a strong and stable majority committed to promoting democratic values and the rule of law as well as pursuing the path towards political association and economic integration with the EU," she said.

The US on Wednesday also called upon all political leaders in Moldova "to forge a path forward that upholds democratic principles and the rule of law."

"The US joins our international partners in reinforcing the importance of continued focus on Moldova's ambitious reform agenda and its goal of European integration for the benefit of Moldova, its people, and its future," the US embassy in Chisinau said in a press statement.

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