Moldovan pro-European government sworn in amid protests

Thu 21 Jan 2016

Moldovan pro-European government sworn in amid protests

On 20 January Moldova’s government was sworn in, led by Pavel Filip of the Democratic Party (PDM). In a parliamentary session hampered by the Socialists (PSRM), 57 out of 101 MPs approved the pro-European government. Protests have been ongoing in the country since the previous government was ousted in October. In the latest protest a dozen of people were injured after the Parliament building was stormed by a crowd.

Continue the road

The newly established government consists of the same political parties as the previous government. MPs from the PDM are joined in a parliamentary coalition by members of the Liberal Democrats (PLDM) and the Liberals (PL). The pro-Russian PSRM, who blocked the rostrum of Parliament in protest, said the approval of the government was “an abusive, unconstitutional and illegal act”.  The pro-Russian opposition is pushing for snap elections, as recent polls have seen a rise in support for them. Despite previous failed attempts to form a coalition of the PDM, PLDM and PL,  all of their  MPs voted in favor. PLDM MP Valeriu Giletski explained he gave “a conditional vote” that gives Moldova “a chance to continue its road”. He urged that the new government should push on reforms and that it has a “difficult task”.

Violence

On 16 January major protests were organized, a day after Pavel Filip was announced as candidate Prime Minister. Two of these protests were organized by the pro-Russian opposition, the PSRM and the “Our Party”. On the 20th these parties again organized a protests, which drew thousands of people. “Our Party” leader Renato Usatyi said that people would continue to protest because they felt betrayed by the government. Another protest was organized by the Civic Platform ‘Dignity and Truth’ (DA), that seeks to fight corruption. Its leader Andrei Nastase said that there was “no other solution than to surround the Parliament building” to “prevent those who betrayed us again from leaving”. The protest turned violent when some of the protest organizers entered the Parliament and clashed with riot police. In the altercation at least eight people were injured, including LP chairman Mihai Ghimpu and DA co-chair Chiril Motpan. Andrei Nastase said that police attacked the crowd and asked protesters to protest peacefully. President Nicolae Timofti stated that people’s support is an obligatory element for the success of the government. Speaker of Parliament Andrian Candu said he invited all protest leaders to meet and discuss the protests, insisting that “a peaceful atmosphere” is needed to make progress.

Continued protests
Two previous attempts to appoint a new Prime Minister had failed, as one candidate withdrew and the other, oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, was rejected by President Nicolae Timofti. Filip was nominated by Timofti on January 15th, ahead of a January 29th deadline that would see Timofti dissolve the government and call for snap elections. In October Valeriu Strelet’s (PLDM) government was toppled by a no-confidence vote after a corruption scandal. Ever since the pro-European and pro-Russian camps, as well as the Civic Platform Truth and Dignity platform, have been organizing protests in the country and said they will continue to do so until snap elections are announced.