Moldovan president suspended, snap election called as crisis deepens

A Moldovan court temporarily relieved President Igor Dodon of his duties on Sunday to allow a stand-in to call a snap election, deepening a standoff between rival political parties over the formation of a new government after months of deadlock.

Dodon’s replacement, former prime minister Pavel Filip, immediately announced a snap election for September, while thousands of supporters of Filip’s party rallied in the capital, Chisinau.

According to Reuters the crisis threatens more instability in one of Europe’s smallest and poorest nations of 3.5 million people, where entrenched corruption and low living standards have pushed many citizens to emigrate to Russia or wealthier European countries.

Dodon’s Russian-backed Socialist party had on Saturday announced it was forming a coalition government with the pro-European Union ACUM bloc, an unlikely alliance designed to keep a party run by tycoon Vladimir Plahotniuc out of power.

Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party of Moldova said the new administration had tried to usurp power at Russia’s behest, criticizing Dodon’s refusal to dissolve the parliament after parties missed a court-mandated June 7 deadline to form a government.

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More than 10,000 of Plahotniuc and Filip’s party supporters held a protest, calling Dodon a “traitor” and demanding his resignation.

Dodon said the court was not politically independent and accused the Democrats of trying to cling to power. He called on the international community to step in.

“Moldovan citizens with different views on domestic and foreign policy can unite for the sake of a common goal: the liberation of the Republic of Moldova from the criminal, dictatorial regime,” Dodon said in a statement.

“We have no choice but to appeal to the international community to mediate in the process of a peaceful transfer of power and/or to call on the people of Moldova for an unprecedented mobilization and peaceful protests.”

The court appointed Filip as interim president to allow him to sign a decree for an election. Filip said Dodon had not fulfilled his duties by failing to dissolve parliament and called it an attempt to stage a “coup”.

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