Nomination of reformist Maia Sandu for Moldova’s prime minister turns uncertain

By bne IntelliNews July 27, 2015

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The newly formed majority ruling coalition in Moldova has postponed again the July 25-26 weekend meeting with President Nicolae Timofti that relates to the official nomination of Maia Sandu as prime minister, Unimedia reported, quoting Valeriu Munteanu, an MP from the Liberal Party (PL).

Formally, the president nominates the designate prime minister after consultations with the political parties. Within 15 days, the designate prime minister must then come up with his or her team and their ruling strategy to present in front of the parliament in order to get lawmaker’s votes.

Sandu’s nomination came as a surprise at the end of last week. A former World Bank expert, Sandu has pursued radical reforms as the minister of education since 2012 and consistantly expressed a strong stance against corruption. 

While the president of the senior ruling party PLDM, Vlad Filat, was expected to announce his nomination for prime minister, he came up with Sandu’s nomination instead. It is possible that Filat was convinced, after consultations with the country’s foreign partners, that deep reforms are needed, but it is also possible that Filat wanted to demonstrate, to foreign partners and the electorate, that such a radical candidate is not acceptable to the ruling coalition.

The reasons that led to Sandu’s unexpected nomination remain unclear and so do the reasons for the delay in her official nomination.

Rumours quoted by Infotag news agency indicate that Sandu asked, as a pre-requisite for accepting her nomination, the dismissal of the central bank governor, Dorin Dragutanu, and that of the head prosecutor, Corneliu Gurin. This was not accepted by the Democrat Party and Liberal party, the coalition partners of PLDM, sources said.

Sandu admitted in a Facebook message quoted by noi.md that she wants to be consulted in regard to the candidate ministers, to have a reliable partner in the central bank and to send a firm message to public that those responsible for fraud are punished.

The central bank’s management has not convinced her that it is doing its best for securing the integrity and stability of the banking system, Sandu said, while the firm anti-corruption message is essential in gaining voters’ trust since the reforms will generate economic hardship at least in the short term, she added.   

If PLDM decides to consider a more moderate candidate for prime minister, another option considered by PLDM and agreed by its partners is Valeriu Strelet. Strelet is one of the founding members of PLDM and he has gradually developed a reputation within the party, becoming the head of the PLDM lawmakers. However, such a nomination would not generate the level of support and confidence among Moldova’s foreign partners that Sandu’s nomination would have generated.

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