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Moldova calls for new elections

Following the Moldovan Parliamentary elections on 24 February 2019, I published an article on the consequences of the elections for EU-Moldovan relations. In this article I mentioned that as no majority was secured, new elections would have to be held if no agreement on a coalition are reached.

Since the elections, Moldova was facing political turmoil and it seemed that no coalition would be possible. However, On June 8th, the Socialist party (pro-Russian) and the ACUM party (pro-European) announced that they formed a coalition. The Democratic party led by businessman Vlad Plahotniuc immediately contested the validity of this coalition. The Democratic party argued that the coalition should have been announced before the 7th June and should therefore should not be recognised but new elections should be called instead.

The Constitutional Court issued a ruling stating that the new government created by the Socialist party (PSRM) and ACUM party alliance was illegal. This is based on the fact, that the Court interpreted the Constitution as stating that a coalition must be formed within 90 days. According to this reasoning, the coalition should have been formed by July 7th but the coalition was only formed on July 8th. Then, the Court decided to remove President Igor Dodon (PSRM) from his functions arguing that he should have dissolved the Parliament and called for new elections as no coalition was reached on time and appointed Pavel Filip (Democratic party) as interim president to replace him.

However, M. Dodon maintained that the Court was not independent from the Democratic party and that the whole process was illegal asking the international community to intercede. Meanwhile a few governments (France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) already publicly recognised the government created by the coalition.

When reading Article 85(1) of the Moldovan Constitution, we can see that the debate about the duration of the delay to form a coalition is irrelevant because the president has no actual obligation to dissolve the parliament (he may). In other words, the President did not violate the law by not dissolving the Parliament and the formation of the coalition is in line with the Constitution. The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) will take on an opinion on the state of affairs in Moldova with reference to the Constitutional Court dissolving the Parliament during its plenary session on 21-22 June. It is anticipated that the Venice Commission will argue that the Constitutional Court did not have the competence to destitute the President and call for new parliamentary elections. The Council of Europe as well as European External Action Service expressed their concerns following the Court´s decision

On 14 June, the interim president stepped down and the new coalition government took office. The new government is led by Maia Sandu (ACUM) a pro-Western and Harvard-educated politician. She said that her government´s priority is to progress Moldova´s relations with the EU while also enhancing economic and trade cooperation with Russia. The uncommon alliance between pro-Europeans and pro-Russians came as a surprise and it remains to be seen what it will mean in terms of Moldova´s geopolitical positioning and it´s relations with the EU.

Author: Dr. Fanny Tittel-Mosser

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