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Moldova’s president nominates Pavel Filip as candidate for prime minister

January 15, 18:41 UTC+3
Earlier, Filip who had been nominated by the Democratic Party of Moldova won support from the parliamentary majority of 55 lawmakers
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Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti

Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti

© EPA/DUMITRU DORU

CHISINAU, January 15. /TASS/. Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti has nominated Minister of Information Technologies and Communications Pavel Filip as candidate for prime minister.

He told journalists he signed a relevant decree on Friday.

Earlier, Filip who had been nominated by the Democratic Party of Moldova, the core of the parliamentary majority, won support from the parliamentary majority of 55 lawmakers.

"Filip has won support from the parliamentary majority of 55 lawmakers. As long as we are nearing the deadline for appointing a new prime minister, we have decided not to waste time. My previous nominee, Ion Paduraru, has withdrawn his candidacy," President Timofti said, adding that the country’s parliament was obliged to approve a new government before January 29.

"I wish every success to Filip. I don’t think it will be an easy job for him as the situation in the country is difficult," the president added.

Filip’s nomination is compromise solution in conditions of confrontation between the country’s president and the Democratic Party which has managed for form a majority of 55 lawmakers in the 101-seat Moldovan parliament. The majority includes the factions of the Democratic Party, Liberal Party and former members of the Party of Communists and the Liberal Democratic Party. Democrats insisted on the nomination of their party’s deputy leader, businessmen Vladimir Plahotiuc, dubbed by the local press as the "grey cardinal of Moldovan politics," as candidate for prime minister. The president however was strongly against, saying Plahotniuc "fails to meet the criteria of a candidate for the post of prime minister."

Moldova began the year 2016 with no government on the backdrop of a profound political crisis.

Large-scale protests erupted in Moldova in the spring 2015 after the media had reported a theft of about one billion U.S. dollars from three Moldovan banks, which nearly went bankrupt. Back then, Moldova’s ruling Alliance for European Integration coalition came under severe criticism from foreign donors, including the European Union and the World Bank, which subsequently suspended their financing of the republic.

The situation aggravated after the arrest on corruption-related charges of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who is the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, the core of the pro-European coalition. Following his arrest, the parliament voted for the resignation of the government of Valeriu Strelet, also of the Liberal Democratic Party, in late October 2015. The resignation of the cabinet, the second one in the past six months, triggered collapse of the ruling Alliance For European Integration, comprising the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM), the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), and the Liberal Party (LP), which had been in power in Moldova for the past five years.

The former allies and now rivals in a fight for power were failing to form the parliamentary majority and approve a new government for two months despite pressure from the United States and the European Union urging the Moldovan authorities to go ahead with European integration and start a campaign against corruption.

After closed-door consultations with visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget Brink in mid-December, Timofti unexpectedly nominated Ion Sturza, Moldova’s Prime Minister in the late 1990s, as his candidate for the head of government.

However leaders of Moldova’s Democratic Party said Sturza would not have support of the lawmakers and threatened President Timofti with impeachment if he nominated a candidate to the prime minister’s post without consultations with the parliamentary factions. As a result, the Moldovan parliament boycotted voting on the Sturza’s government on January 4, with only 47 out of 101 lawmakers present at the session.

Under the Moldovan Constitution, the president nominates a candidate for prime minister who is given 15 days to form a new cabinet and present his program to the parliament for approval. The president may dissolve the parliament and appoint early elections in case the lawmakers fail to vote confidence to the government within 45 days. This period expires in Moldova on January 29.

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