Moldova’s pro-EU parties form new government coalition, invest cabinet
Moldova’s parliament elected a new speaker and invested a new cabinet headed by Iurie Leanca on May 30 after the pro-Western parties in the legislature signed a coalition agreement to form a new parliamentary majority.
The political crisis in Moldova in recent months has undermined the prospect of Moldova signing an association agreement with the European Union and a visa-free travel agreement at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius at the end of the year.
One of the new government’s priorities will be to get the process back on track – doing so will be aided by the fact that 15 of the 19 ministers in the new cabinet held the same portfolios in the Vlad Filat government that fell as a result of a vote of no confidence on March 5. Leanca was deputy prime minister in charge of European integration and foreign minister in the Filat cabinet.
The new ruling coalition largely duplicates the parliamentary majority that fell apart in February-March – the Liberal-Democrats (the party of both Filat and Leanca) and Democratic Party, backed by a splinter group from the Liberal Party, giving the coalition a majority of 53 MPs in the 101-seat legislature. The groups signed a formal coalition agreement on the morning of May 30.
After the signing of the agreement, the leaders of the three parliamentary groups said that the new coalition deal was meant to keep Moldova on its European integration track and continuing the reforms started by the Filat government.
The new coalition agreement features a changed distribution of political appointments to key positions between the parties, but the Liberal-Democrats retained the right to nominate the prime minister, while the Democrats nominated the speaker of parliament. Igor Corman, previously head of parliament’s foreign affairs and European integration committee, was elected speaker.
(Before the two parties had their very public falling out, the jobs were held by the respective party leaders, with Liberal-Democrat Filat as prime minister and Democrat leader Marian Lupu as speaker of parliament.)
Both the speaker and cabinet investiture votes passed with 58 MPs in favour, winning the support of several independent MPs. The main opposition party, the communists, put forth its own nominee for speaker, but refused to participate in the vote to invest the new cabinet and staged a walk-out.
Throughout the parliament’s sitting on May 30, the communists put forth numerous procedural motions – local media speculated that it was an attempt to delay the cabinet investiture vote because this was the last day to vote on the proposed government line-up. In the end, the Leanca government was invested after nine hours of debates, less than an hour before the midnight deadline.
The communists also said that they would challenge the election of the speaker of parliament in the constitutional court, claiming that the secrecy of the vote was compromised by tricks allegedly employed by MPs from the ruling coalition.
(British foreign secretary William Hague meeting Iurie Leanca, right, in London in September 2011. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via flickr.com)
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