Moldova’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Maia Sandu, in her dispute with Parliament over early elections
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova decided that Parliament’s failure to appoint a government is sufficient grounds for the country’s president to dissolve the legislative body, upholding the view of the pro-European president Maia Sandu.
The ruling comes after MPs failed twice in 3 months to endorse a new government following the resignation of Ion Chicu’s cabinet, and paves the way for early elections.
Sandu, elected president late last year, pleaded her case herself before the Court, and argued, according to Reuters, that most Moldovan citizens are in favour of early general elections.
The political situation remains unstable in Chișinău, with an interim cabinet and tensions between parliament and the president. Ex-president Igor Dodon’s Socialists and their allies in parliament have declared a state of emergency until the end of May, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, although they have introduced no clear measures to contain the spread of the disease.
Under Moldova’s constitution, parliament cannot be dissolved during a state of emergency, and experts say Dodon’s true goal was to prevent early elections. The Socialists are trying to avoid a new vote, because according to polls they risk losing half of their current seats in parliament, and they will do everything in their power to prevent it, analysts say.
The decision to declare the state of emergency was itself challenged before the Constitutional Court, on grounds that it was not within the powers of a resigning cabinet.
Meanwhile, the members of the interim cabinet are invited on a weekly basis by the parliament speaker, the Socialist Zinaida Greceanîi, to discuss administrative matters. Teodor Cârnaţ, a constitutional law expert in Chișinău, defines this as an abuse and a violation of the separation of powers. According to him, the parliament is a collegial body and the cabinet should not hold separate meetings with its president.
Such meetings are obviously political in nature, with the Socialists seeking to keep their control over the government, while also sending electoral messages to citizens, believes another Moldovan analyst, Veceslav Berbeca.
Russian-backed ex-president Igor Dodon said the Constitutional Court ruling should not be observed, and labelled it an attempt at a “constitutional coup.” But the ruling is final, it cannot be appealed, and takes effect immediately. (tr. A.M. Popescu)