Sun, 08 Dec 2019

Moldovan President Igor Dodon nominated one of his advisers to be the country's next prime minister, a day after pro-Western Prime Minister Maia Sandu's cabinet lost a confidence vote.

Speaking late on November 13 following consultations with parliamentary factions, Dodon said he had asked former Finance Minister Ion Chicu to form a government.

The 47-year-old, who until five months ago served as finance minister, now has 15 days to form a cabinet that would then need the approval of lawmakers.

Sandu's short-lived government came to power in June after her pro-European ACUM alliance formed an uneasy coalition with the Russian-aligned Moldovan Socialist Party (PSRM) and ousted the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), led and funded at the time by oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc.

The alliance between the pro-Western and pro-Russia parties came following months of political uncertainty prompted by inconclusive national elections in February.

The PSRM, led by Dodon, filed the no-confidence motion on November 8 after Sandu's cabinet changed the procedure for appointing the prosecutor-general, under which the prime minister would nominate candidates for the position.

The no-confidence motion passed after PDM deputies joined PSRM to topple Sandu's cabinet.

'The president will take the initiative and nominate a candidate for prime minister,' Dodon said earlier on November 13.

'It will be a government of technocrats, specialists, who will be successful. It won't be a government that makes political statements,' he added.

However, ACUM politicians told the media after meeting with Dodon that they will only back Sandu to form a new cabinet, as a guarantee that she will be able to continue her program of reforms.

Moldova has struggled to implement reforms urged by many in the West after the disappearance of more than $1 billion from state-owned banks five years ago. The missing funds helped shatter the already impoverished ex-Soviet state's economy and took down the government.

Plahotniuc, a controversial tycoon whose critics say wielded overwhelming control over Moldova's politics and economy, left the country after his PDM party lost power in summer.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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