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Moldova Constitutional Court upholds Sturza nomination for prime minister

December 29, 2015, 17:56 UTC+3 CHISINAU

On Monday, Sturza told journalists his program would focus on anti-corruption measures

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Ion Sturza

Ion Sturza


CHISINAU, December 29. /TASS/. The Constitutional Court (CC) of Moldova has upheld the decision of Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti country to nominate Ion Sturza for prime minister, Constitutional Court Chairman Alexandru Tanase said on Tuesday, in response to an inquiry of a group of parliament deputies who challenged the actions of the head of state.

President Nicolae Timofti nominated Ion Sturza, who headed the cabinet in 1999, as a candidate for the prime minister’s post on Monday, December 21.

"The court found the parliamentarians’ accusations groundless. The decree on the nomination of Ion Sturza for the prime minister’s post complies with the constitution," Tanase said. According to him, the verdict is final and not subject to revision.

On Monday, Sturza told journalists his program would focus on anti-corruption measures. He pledged to do his best to "identify those responsible for the theft of $1 bln from the country’s banking system," which had triggered mass protests in Chisinau. "We know who is to blame. They have been plundering the county for years. I will spare no effort to have this money back to the country," Sturza said. He said his government would have "new people." "This list is subject to changes. I plan to discuss it with the parliamentary parties but I stick to the opinion that these should be people who have nothing to do with politics," he said.

The parliamentarians condemned the actions of the president, who nominated the premier, without waiting for the formation of the parliamentary majority. "The president has nominated a candidate without parliamentary support, in order to provoke early parliamentary elections and put pressure on the legislature. The actions of the head of state violate the constitution," the authors of the inquiry say.

On January 4, Sturza is to present to the deputies the future government’s programme and membership. However, the candidate’s consultations with the lawmakers who should place confidence in him by a majority of votes, testify to the fact that he lacks the parliament’s support. The Communist Party of Moldova, Democratic Party of Moldova the republic’s opposition Party of Socialists and a number of independent parliamentarians have already objected to his candidacy. In total, more than two-thirds of all the deputies in parliament form the group of his opponents. So far, only the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM) has declared support for Sturza.

"Sturza who headed the Moldovan government in 1999 is remembered for corruption and delayed pensions and salaries, which were frequently paid in flour and rubber overshoes. The Socialist will not vote for such a candidate to the prime minister’s post," leader of Moldova’s Party of Socialists, which controls the biggest faction of 24 deputies in the 101-seat Moldovan parliament, Igor Dodon, told journalists last Tuesday (Dec 22). Dodon said that Moldova was extremely poor under Sturza’s premiership and huge masses of people were leaving it in search of a better life in other countries.

Dodon believes that a certain group of Moldovan oligarchs stood behind Sturza’s nomination. "Their goals have got nothing to do with Moldova’s interests. They want to cover their crimes and create an illusion of renovation by using an old and discredited politician," Dodon said.

According to Moldova’s constitution, the candidate to the prime minister’s post has got 15 days for his cabinet and submit it and his programme to parliament for approval. Sturza needs the support of parliamentary majority in the 101-seat parliament while the group of his opponents has 58 people. Sturza began consultations with Moldova’s parliamentary factions on December 22. The first meeting was with the deputies of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova after which the party’s Vice-Chairman Valeriu Strelet voiced support for Sturza’s candidacy.

The Ruling Coalition Split

The government of Liberal Democrat Valeriu Strelet stepped down under pressure from opposition parties supported by the Democratic Party of Moldova on October 29. It happened amidst mass opposition riots and a split in the ruling "Alliance for European Integration", which comprises the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM); the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM); and the Liberal Party (LP). A fight for power among the former allies prevented them from forming the parliamentary majority and approving a new government for the past two months despite pressure from the United States and the European Union that urged the Moldovan authorities to go ahead with European integration and start a campaign against corruption.

Opposition leaders in Moldova have accused Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti of usurping power because of his inability to nominate a candidate for the prime minister’s post for 6 months.

Marian Lupu, the leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, threatened President Timofti with impeachment if he nominated a candidate to the prime minister’s post without consultations with representatives of other parties in the Moldovan parliament. The presidential press service responded with a statement, which accused the democrats of exerting pressure on Timofti demanding he nominate businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc as candidate to the post of Moldova’s prime minister. The local media calls Plahotniuc "the grey cardinal of the Moldovan politics." President Timofti has asked western diplomats for support because of pressure exerted on him and his family.

Moldova has been shaken by anti-government protests for the past 3 months. The situation became worse after Moldova’s former prime minister, Vlad Filat, had been arrested on suspicion of corruption. Filat is the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova, which forms the nucleus of the pro-European coalition. Later, the parliament voted for the resignation of a government led by Liberal Democrat Valeriu Strelet.

The fall of the second cabinet over the past 6 months has led to a new collapse of the ruling Alliance for European Integration, which has been in power in Moldova for the past five years. Moldova’s ruling pro-European coalition includes the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova; the Democratic Party of Moldova and the Liberal Party.

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