Moldovan top court rejects pro-EU president’s bid to appoint new ministers
FILE PHOTO: Moldova’s President Maia Sandu attends a news briefing with European Council President Charles Michel (not pictured) in Chisinau, Moldova February 28, 2021. REUTERS/Vladislav Culiomza/File Photo
March 4, 2021
By Alexander Tanas
CHISINAU (Reuters) – Moldova’s constitutional court on Thursday rejected a request by the pro-Western President Maia Sandu to be allowed to appoint new ministers, prolonging a months-long standoff between Sandu and her Russia-friendly predecessor Igor Dodon.
Sandu won the presidential election in November in the country of 3.5 million, where the West and Russia vie for influence, but has clashed with a parliament dominated by lawmakers aligned with Dodon.
She is pushing to hold a snap general election which Dodon’s Socialist party opposes. Both sides are also at odds about appointing a new government in the interim after the previous administration, appointed under Dodon, resigned, prompting her to turn to the court.
“The standoff between the president and parliament remains the same,” said political analyst Corneliu Ciurea. “There is no clarity about the dissolution of parliament and early elections.”
Sandu did gain a partial victory as the court granted her the powers to appoint state officials to key ministries such as finance and health.
Dodon welcomed the court’s decision, writing that it “did not allow Maia Sandu to violate the constitution, change ministers and appoint others at will.”
Sandu’s adviser Olesea Stamate welcomed the power to appoint new officials, saying this would help make the government more accountable.
Sandu wants to hold a snap parliamentary election, hoping a win for the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), the party she led before becoming president, would shore up her power and allow her to make good on promises to tackle corruption.
Moldova has been beset by instability and corruption scandals in recent years, including the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system.
(Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)