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News 24 Oct 17

Moldova Suspends President to Appoint Defence Minister

Moldova’s new Defence Minister Eugen Sturza was sworn in while the country’s pro-Russian president was temporarily suspended for his refusal to approve the appointment. 

Ana Maria Touma
Moldova's new Defence Minister Eugen Sturza. Photo:ppe.md

Moldova’s government appointed a new defence minister on Tuesday after a lengthy row over the post between the pro-European, Democratic Party-led cabinet and pro-Russian President Igor Dodon.

Eugen Sturza, 32, was sworn in at a ceremony at the presidential palace led by parliament speaker Andrian Candu, acting as interim president while Dodon was briefly suspended.

Last week, the Moldovan Constitutional Court ruled that Dodon could be temporarily suspended over his failure to fulfill his constitutional duties and for causing an institutional deadlock for his refusal to appoint Sturza.

The court also said that parliament speaker Andrian Candu or Prime Minister Pavel Filip could act as interim president in order to appoint the defence minister.

The defence post had been vacant for 10 months, as the former minister Anatol Salaru was fired by Dodon after his own party, the Liberals, withdrew their political support.

The ruling Democratic Party did not come up with the proposal to appoint Sturza until September 2017 because of an ongoing process of restructuring the government which ended in August, and also because of a row over corruption with the Liberals, who withdrew from the ruling coalition in June.

But Dodon refused to approve Sturza because he said the 32-year-old did not have the proper experience to serve as defence minister.

Sturza, an economist, is the vice-president of the Democratic Party’s new coalition partner, the Moldovan European People Party.

He served as an advisor to former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, currently in jail for corruption, and was the head of staff for former Prime Minister Iurie Leanca. 

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