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Moldovan protests leaders agree to continue joint pressure on authorities

January 29, 16:48 UTC+3 CHISINAU
The three opposition leaders agreed that further protests would be peaceful
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© EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

CHISINAU, January 29. /TASS/. Moldova’s left-wing and right-wing opposition that has united for anti-government protests will continue joint actions, leaders of the opposition parties, Igor Dodon of the Party of Socialists, Renato Usatii of Our Party and Andrei Nastase of the Dignity and Truth (DA) Civil Platform, said at a civil forum on Friday.

"Yes, we are different but we have stood up for a struggle against the illegitimate government. Our country has never seen such unification. The most important thing today is strictly coordinate our steps not to be set at odds or deceived," said Dodon, whose party, along with Our Party, stands for closer relations with Russia.

"I think our marches and ultimatums are inefficient. We should exert more pressure but we will act in strict compliance with the resolutions of the civil forum," said Usatii.

"We must consolidate civil society regardless of our geopolitical viewpoints and the languages we are speaking. It is vital today to keep united," said Nastase who represents an informal organization favoring closer relations with the European Union and criticizing the ruling pro-European authorities for discrediting this idea.

Protests will be peaceful

The three opposition leaders agreed that further protests would be peaceful. "We will act within the framework of the law. We will refrain from seizure of state institutions to exert pressure only by means of involving more protesters," Dodon said.

"Today, the country needs mobilization of all citizens. They should be ready to come to Chisinau. When lawmakers with the Party of Socialists put the issue of the cabinet resignation for voting, we, the entire country, will come up to the parliament building to support them," Usatii said.

According to the leader of the Party of Socialists, which has the biggest faction of 24 seats in Moldova’s 101-seat parliament, peaceful protests have already brought about first results. "The authorities have agreed to organize a referendum on general presidential elections. But they are seeking to dodge again. If the parliamentary majority does have such political will, constitutional amendments can be approved by the parliament. We will support them," Dodon said.

Authorities seeking to snatch initiative

Earlier on Friday, speaker of the Moldovan parliament Andrian Candu put forward an initiative to hold a constitutional referendum on the issue of the transfer to the president’s nationwide election. Under the current procedure, the Moldovan head of state is elected by the parliament. Candu made this statement at a parliament briefing devoted to the negotiations with the leaders of the opposition protesting in Chisinau. The protesters demand the president’s election in a national vote, resignation of the government and early parliamentary elections.

"After a number of consultations with lawyers the parliamentary majority came to the conclusion that the referendum on the election of the president in a nationwide vote may be held. "We’ll raise this issue at the next parliament meeting," Candu said. According to him, the authorities are also ready to meet other demands of the opposition. "We are ready to give them an opportunity to participate in the work of the Central Election Commission (CEC) and other institutions," the speaker said. At the same time, he flatly rejected the demands of the protesters to hold early elections of the parliament and government. "The demands of the resignation of the parliament and government cannot be fulfilled - it would plunge the country into a deep political and economic crisis," the Moldovan parliament head said.

Moldova has been disturbed by mass protests demanding government resignation since the autumn of 2015. Protests have invigorated after January 20, 2016, when the opposition organized thousands-strong protests not to let the parliamentary majority formed around the Democratic Party of Moldova approve Pavel Filip as Moldova’s prime minister. The protesters accused the authorities of forming this majority by bribery and blackmailing, according to the local press.

Taking advantage of the current pause in protests, the authorities have decided to snatch the initiative and advanced a number of social initiatives to mitigate the price policy, to fight against corruption and establish law and order in the country. Thus, the authorities promised to reduce gas and fuel prices and impose a moratorium on checks of businesses.

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