Moldova: Thousands protest against proposed PM candidate

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2016 3:56 PM

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Thousands demonstrated in Moldova on Thursday against a proposal to nominate an influential politician and businessman to become the next prime minister of the country, which is mired in political uncertainty.

The protest came amid a standoff between President Nicolae Timofti and the pro-European governing coalition.

Timofti on Thursday nominated Ion Paduraru, the general secretary of his presidential office, to be prime minister — a day after rejecting the coalition's candidate for the post, Vlad Plahotniuc.

Earlier in the day, thousands had demonstrated in Chisinau against Plahotniuc, a politician with investments in oil, finance, banking and media, claiming he has too much power and influence.

Timofti had called on Parliament to name an alternative candidate by Thursday evening, urging transparency in the way the coalition was formed, but the coalition refused to name another candidate.

Seven lawmakers said they were quitting the coalition, demanding another candidate be named. Their departure leaves the coalition without a majority.

Parliament will vote on Paduraru, a former justice minister with a pro-European outlook, next week. If the legislature fails to approve a government by Jan. 29, it will be dissolved and an early election called. Parliament dismissed the previous government in late October amid allegations of corruption.

Moldova has been plagued by instability since up to $1.5 billion went missing from three Moldovan banks before November 2014 parliamentary elections, sparking weeks of protests last fall, with Moldovans demanding a thorough investigation and a crackdown on endemic corruption. The country had five prime ministers during 2015.