Moldovan government offers to discuss protesters’ demands

By bne IntelliNews September 15, 2015

bne IntelliNews -

The Moldovan parliament may discuss the demands of anti-government demonstrators, Prime Minister Vladimir Strelet said, opening the way to a possible compromise to end the protest campaign that has occupied Chisinau's main square for more than a week.
Strelet said that the activities of the central bank and central bank governor Dorin Dragutanu over the past year would in particularly be reviewed. “There are grounds for the parliament to hear [governor Dragutanu] on the performance of the central bank during the past year, and to take a decision in this regard,” Strelet said.  Protesters accuse the central bank for poor oversight of the banking sector, which has hit by a $1bn fraud earlier this year.
The prime minister’s statement might indicate that the ruling coalition is considering sacrificing one or two top officials in exchange for the termination of the street protests in Chisinau that have entered their second week. 
The authorities want a quick start to negotiations, so as to be able to close a Stand-by Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, which is much needed for the unblocking of the country’s external financing.
An IMF team is expected in Chisinau next week and the political turmoil puts at risk the visit. The government claims that it could survive this year without external financing, but this would mean abandoning all public investments and operating under emergency rules.
Parliamentary speaker Andrian Candu explained in an interview with Prime TV that dismissing the central bank’s governor should be preceded by and based on an independent evaluation from an independent body such as the IMF. Furthermore, it is not the right time to dismiss the central bank’s governor or the head prosecutor, Candu argued. The IMF will definitely defer discussions with Moldova if the government or central bank’s governor resigns, he reasoned.  
The civic platform Dignity and Truth expressed on September 13 radical requests starting with the resignation of President Nicolae Timofti, of the government, of governor Dragutanu and head prosecutor Corneliu Gurin. However, Strelet has so far only mentioned central bank governor Dragutanu and head prosecutor Corneliu Gurin.
Strelet has also attempted to persuade protestors to stand down, saying that many of the requests formulated by them, such as the elimination of political control on state institutions, are also on the government’s agenda.
Speaking of his plans, Strelet stressed that he does not intend to resign as long as his cabinet still has the parliament’s support.

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