Moldova plunged back into political crisis on April 22 as the country's Constitutional Court ruled to bar acting Prime Minister Vlad Filat from seeking a permanent position as head of government. The decision comes days ahead of a vote that would likely have reinstated him in the job.
Filat's government resigned on March 8 after losing a confidence vote following months of feuding among leaders of the pro-European coalition that has run the poorest European country since 2009. The 43-year-old businessman who heads the Liberal Democratic party, has since served in an interim capacity and earlier this month President Nicolae Timofti asked him to try to form a new government. By the end of last week, he appeared to have secured the necessary 51 votes in the 101-seat parliament to give him a majority, but in a stunning decision the Constitutional Court ruled that his nomination was illegal.
"The decree issued by President Nicolae Timofti April 10, 2013, on nominating a candidate for the post of prime minister is hereby recognized as unconstitutional," the court said, according to Itar-Tass. "The head of a cabinet who was dismissed through a no-confidence vote on suspicion of corruption is unable to carry on the prime-ministerial mandate."
Court judge Viktor Popa was quoted as saying the court believed that a prime minister who had lost a confidence vote could never again head the government. "The president of Moldova is expected to appoint an acting prime minister from among the government members, whose decency is not called into question," the resolution added. According to Moldova's constitution, laws and other legal acts "become null and void from the moment that the Constitutional Court passes the appropriate judgment to that effect".
Following the ruling, Filat called an emergency government meeting, Reuters reports, as he looks to find a solution to the sudden acceleration of a crisis that has been playing out for months. The three-party coalition known as the Alliance for European Integration, which included Filat's party, has worked to bring Moldova closer to mainstream Europe. But the fall of the alliance has threatened to derail its course towards signing free trade agreements with the European Union by the end of the year.
If parliament fails to approve a new prime minister in three attempts, it will have to call snap elections, which could hand power to communists who are likely to scrap plans for closer ties with the West.
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