More than three months after an inconclusive parliamentary election, Moldova has formed a new government in quite extraordinary circumstances.
At an emergency session of parliament on June 8, 61 of the country’s MPs voted to back an executive which will be led by Maia Sandu, the leader of the broadly centre-right ACUM alliance, which campaigned in the election on an anti-corruption platform. The new government also includes the Moldovan Socialist Party (PSRM), which holds the most seats in the 101-seat parliament.
“In accordance with the constitution and following consultations with the parliamentary groups I have signed a decree naming Maia Sandu as prime minister,” said the country’s socialist president, Igor Dodon.
“A tsunami is taking place now in Moldova,” said Igor Munteanu, an MP for the ACUM alliance, who added that a priority for the new government would be “de-oligarchisation.” Despite being only the third-largest party in parliament, ACUM will have the most cabinet posts, while a socialist, former PM Zinaida Greceanîi, will be parliamentary speaker.
The appointment of Ms Sandu comes a day after Moldova’s Constitutional Court ruled that the legal period allowed for the formation of a new government following February’s election had expired, in theory triggering a new election.
Vlad Plahotniuc, the chairman of the Democratic Party and an oligarch widely considered the most powerful person in the country, said that the new government lacked any legitimacy.
“What happened in parliament today is a coup d’etat,” he said. He immediately appealed to the Constitutional Court – over which he allegedly has great influence – which quickly declared the new government unconstitutional.
The Democratic Party – whose 30 MPs boycotted the June 8 parliamentary session – had long been considered a more likely coalition partner for the PSRM, and Mr Plahotniuc had in recent weeks personally negotiated a power-sharing arrangement with Mr Dodon.
The first act of the new government was to issue a statement calling Moldova a “captured state” and to remove the leadership of the supreme court, the secret services and the country’s electoral commission, all believed to be loyal to Mr Plahotniuc.
The ambassadors to Moldova of Russia, the United States and the European Union have all welcomed the new government. The three were even said to have been present in parliament for the extraordinary session that ended with Ms Sandu being named as prime minister.