Iulian Ernst -
Chiril Gaburici, a telecom executive, has been nominated as the next Moldovan premier, following the failure of acting prime minister Iurie Leanca to win a vote of confidence on February 12.
President Nicolae Timofti nominated the 38-year-old independent on February 13 after discussions with the minority coalition of the Liberal Democrat Party (PLDM) and Democrat Party (PDM). Gaburici has 15 days to come up with a team and a ruling strategy to put before the parliament and end the political deadlock since the November 30 parliamentary elections.
The new PM designate is reportedly a close collaborator of PLDM president Vlad Filat but is also on good terms with Vladimir Voronin, president of the Communist Party (PCRM). Voronin has praised the nomination already, raising hopes that this attempt to form a government will be more successful than the last.
Gaburici rose through the ranks in the telecom company Moldcell to the CEO position. After managing Moldcell from 2008 to 2012, he moved to Azercell, which he managed until 2014.
However, reliance on Communist support could severely dilute the pro-EU orientation of the government and prevent reforms. This is particularly important for the judicial reforms – the backbone of reforms in an accession country. Furthermore, while Leanca (PLDM) set a target of reaching EU candidate status in his ruling strategy, this will not necessarily be the case with Gaburici.
The new nomination has already generated tensions within the senior ruling party PLDM and this might put at risk the majority support that Gaburici needs in parliament. Leanca - the country’s PM since 2013, when Filat was overthrown after a corruption scandal - stated for Publika.md TV stations that he plans to vote against Gaburici unless he manages to bring the Liberal Party (PL, the third pro-EU party besides PLDM and PDM) within an enlarged majority ruling coalition.
“I do not believe in the capacity of a minority government supported informally or formally by the Communists,” Leanca said. In an interview for RFERL's Romanian language section, Leanca explained that he does not question Gaburici's capacity but the capacity of a minority government informally supported by the Communists. Such a government will entirely depend on Voronin, he pointed.
Leanca’s position complicates the negotiations, after Filat announced the new nomination as essential to end the political deadlock. The likely lack of support from Leanca not only will diminish the government’s support in parliament, but will severely diminish its support among voters.
Among the pro-EU electorate, Leanca enjoys the strongest credibility, according to opinion polls. Under one of the few polls on this topic, conducted in 2013, the Moldovan population associated the term of “corruption” with Voronin (22%), Vladimir Plahotniuc of the Democratic party (22%) and Filat (14%). Filat was dismissed by lawmakers after a corruption scandal in 2013 and he was refused the interim PM position. Until deep judicial reforms are implemented, such accusations cannot be substantiated by court decisions though.
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