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Moldovan Leader Seeks to Broaden His Powers

Igor Dodon keeps on sniping at pro-EU government despite joining forces with ruling party on controversial electoral law.

26 September 2017

Moldova’s Socialist Party is seeking to change the country’s current parliamentary system into a presidential one. The proposed changes would also give the presidential position significant new powers. The incumbent, Igor Dodon, ran with the party’s backing in a bitterly fought election last year.

 

Dodon’s previous attempt to increase presidential powers through a referendum was planned for this week, but it was declared unconstitutional in July, and the plans were postponed, RFE/RL reports.

 

Under the previous proposal, the president would have had the power to call early elections and dissolve sitting parliaments.

 

Since his election in 2016, Dodon has frequently come to loggerheads with the Moldovan parliament, which is dominated by parties that support further EU integration. In contrast, Dodon has spoken of building ties with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and found common cause on many issues with the Kremlin. Earlier this month he told the Russian news agency TASS that previous, scandal-ridden pro-EU governing coalitions had failed to deliver on their promises.

 

Igor Dodon and Vladimir Putin at the military day parade marking Russia's 72nd anniversary of victory in World War Two. Image via Kremlin.ru

 

After Dodon congratulated the leader of Transdniester, a breakaway region closely tied to Russia, the Liberal Party began a bid to impeach him, as reported by Moldova.org. In January and again in May, attempts to gather enough signatures from parliamentary members for a referendum on his dismissal failed. Last week, the party proposed to suspend Dodon and call a referendum on his dismissal.

 

 

  • The last few years have been turbulent for Moldova after corruption and mismanagement lead to the loss of $1 billion from three of the country’s banks shortly before a national election in 2014. The scandal sparked massive protests and heavy criticism was levelled against the pro-Western government.

 

  • Two weeks ago, RFE/RL reported that hundreds marched in Chisinau to protest a law that introduces a new electoral system. The new system allows half of the candidates to be elected from party lists, and the other half in individual constituencies. Critics say it favors the two largest parties – Dodon’s Socialists and the ruling Democrats.

 

  • Moldova has long called for international peacekeepers to replace Russia’s 1,200-strong military force in Transdniester. Last week, Prime Minister Pavel Filip discussed the matter with EU Council President Donald Tusk before calling on the UN to discuss withdrawing the troops during his address to the UN General Assembly in New York.

Compiled by Kate Syme-Lamont

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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

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