New Political Crisis Hits Moldova

The combative president of Moldova Igor Dodon potentially sparked a new political crisis on December 28 when he vetoed the appointment of seven new ministers. It is the second time that Dodon has rejected the nominations – part of a cabinet reshuffle which took place on December 19 aimed at promoting a more technocratic style of government.

“These appointments will not depoliticise the government,” said Mr Dodon. “Far from it, I believe that they will in fact relaunch the political careers of a number of former political players.” He then warned the prime minister, Pavel Filip, that he did not intend to change his mind: “I want to be very clear for all those in the parliamentary majority and the government. I do not intend to give in.”

The list of nominations includes Iurie Leancă, prime minister during the banking scandal of 2014 when more than 1 billion US dollars disappeared from Moldova’s banks. Mr Leancă has been proposed as vice-prime minister and Minister of European Integration.

It is likely that the country’s constitutional court will once again have to step in to ensure that the nominations are approved. In October the court ruled that Mr Dodon could briefly be suspended from the presidency in order to allow the investiture of Eugen Sturza as Minister of Defence to go ahead. Mr Dodon has refused to approve Mr Sturza’s appointment for months.

Mr Dodon is also currently embroiled in another row, this time with the Moldovan parliament, which wants him to sign a law banning Russian news broadcasts and so-called ‘propaganda’. Mr Dodon – who openly favours closer ties with Russia – has already vetoed the bill once, sending it back to parliament after claiming it was against the principles of free speech. Lawmakers then returned the bill to Mr Dodon a second time on December 22.