Moldova strips country's pro-Russia president of his powers

Political standoff erupts after Igor Dodon refuses to approve new ministers

Samuel Osborne
Monday 24 September 2018 17:09
Igor Dodon has had his presidential powers suspended four times for refusing to approve government-proposed candidates for ministers or enact laws passed by parliament
Igor Dodon has had his presidential powers suspended four times for refusing to approve government-proposed candidates for ministers or enact laws passed by parliament

Moldova’s pro-Russian president has been temporarily stripped of his powers after he refused to endorse new ministers and a political standoff ensued.

Igor Dodon was stripped of his duties after he said he would not approve candidates for the health and agricultural portfolios. He said they lacked the necessary skills.

After the ruling, the country’s prime minister or parliamentary speaker will be entitled to sign decrees appointing the pair.

Mr Dodon has often been at odds with the ruling coalition, which favours closer relations with the European Union (EU) and US.

His spokesman, Maxim Lebedinschi, accused the court of being “an instrument in the political fight”.

It is the fourth time Mr Dodon has had his presidential powers suspended for refusing to approve government-proposed candidates for ministers or enact laws passed by parliament.

Moldova is divided between pro-Western and Moscow-backed factions.

In March, more than 10,000 people took to the streets of the capital, Chisinau, to call for reunification between Romania which is a member of the EU and Moldova.

While such a union with its south eastern neighbour to the northeast is unlikely, the issue highlights the political split in its society.

Moldova itself is split between a Romanian speaking majority and the breakaway region of Transdniestria, which is propped up by Russia.