Iulian Ernst -
Maia Sandu has been nominated as prime minister of Moldova’s new majority pro-European Union coalition.
“Sandu should come up with her ruling strategy and her team,” said Vlad Filat, president of Moldova’s Liberal Democrat Party (PLDM), which nominated Sandu.
Known for her reformist views, as well as her strong statements against corruption, Sandu should be welcomed by coalition voters as well as the country’s foreign partners – both of which had halted talks on aid to Moldova because of the country’s political turmoil.
Under the terms of the coalition agreement reached this week, the PDLM will nominate the premier, the Democrat Party (PD) will choose the parliamentary speaker, and, together with the Liberal Party (PL), the three parties together will nominate its candidate for president next year. In contrast to the previous coalition formed after the November 2014 parliamentary elections, it should enjoy a formal majority in parliament.
The PD will keep Andrian Candu as parliamentary speaker and the PL will nominate a deputy speaker. There will be four vice-prime ministers – one from each of the three ruling party and a vice-prime minister for the integration process (with Transnistria) nominated by the three parties together.
The ruling coalition still lacks the required majority in parliament to elect the president. It will organise a referendum to amend the constitution and thus avoid a political crisis next year when the term of President Nicolae Timofti expires. According to unofficial sources, the three parties want to have the president elected directly – but this was not yet disclosed by the coalition’s officials.
The key question is how tightly the three parties will try to control the government’s actions. So far the coalition looks to be trying to impose tight control, since the parties had already shared the ministries, appointed the minister candidates and inked the ruling strategy before inviting Sandu to become prime minister.
Given Sandu’s former outspokenness, it looks likely that she would rather resign than bow to pressure to moderate her likely ambitions to implement anti-corruption and reforming policies.
Sandu, 43, has served as minister of education since 2012 in the cabinets of Vlad Filat, Iurie leanca and Chiril Gaburici. She said that PLDM had fully supported her in implementing the reforms in the education sector, and that in response she “adhered” to the party, but stressed on May 28 on Realitatea TV that she is not a formal member of the party.
Sandu graduated from the Moldovan Academy of Economic Studies (ASEM) in 1994. Since 1998, Sandu has worked as an expert for the World Bank, UNDP and more recently the government.
Immediately after graduation she started working as deputy head of a division in the Ministry of Economy. She attended, between 1995-1998, the school of public administration operating at that time under the authority of the presidency, graduating with a masters degree in international relations. Later, in 2009-2010, she attended Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she graduated from the public administration masters programme.
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