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Inquiry into legitimacy of Filip’s nomination for Moldovan PM turned down

January 20, 2016, 8:46 UTC+3 CHISINAU

The Socialists challenged Filip’s nomination on Monday on grounds the president’s decision was unconstitutional as it violated the established procedures

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CHISINAU, January 19. /TASS/. Moldova’s Constitutional Court has turned down an inquiry of the opposition Party of Socialists to check the legitimacy of the nomination of Minister of Information Technologies and Communications Pavel Filip as candidate for prime minister, the court’s press service said on Tuesday.

"The Constitutional Court ruled the inquiry about the legitimacy of the presidential decree as ungrounded and turned it down. The ruling is final and is not subject to any appeal," the court said.

The Socialists challenged Filip’s nomination on Monday on grounds the president’s decision was unconstitutional as it violated the established procedures. "A candidate for prime minister was to be nominated by January 14 whereas the decree was signed by the president on January 15," Socialist leader Igor Dodon said, adding that the procedure of forming a parliamentary majority had been violated too.

Apart from that, the Socialists requested the Constitutional Court to rule on the legitimacy of the rejection of the candidature of Ion Sturza on January 4 as the parliament failed to take a decision on that candidate due to the lack of the quorum.

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 US 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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