The defeat of the pro-EU government in Moldova in a no-confidence vote is causing concern in neighbouring Romania.Moldova’s government was ousted on Tuesday following a no-confidence vote against the cabinet of Prime Minister Vlad Filat, with 54 lawmakers supporting the move.
The charge was led by the opposition Communists on the ground that most Moldovans were dissatisfied with the state of the economy and with corruption. In the meantime, the ruling coalition of the Alliance for European Integration, AIE, split over a battle to control the justice system.
Filat’s government has three days to step down. It can try to form a new coalition before an election has to be called. This would be the fourth in as many years.
The ousting of the pro-European government worries many in Romania. “We are carefully following the political crisis… While the no-confidence vote is a mechanism of democracy, we hope that Moldova will firmly stay on its pro-European course,” Cristian Diaconescu, a political adviser to Romanian President Traian Basescu, said.
Analysts say if the government falls, political uncertainty in Moldova will worsen. “The failure of the pro-EU government is no surprise. It shows the weakness of democracy in the country but also the weaknesses of political parties [and]… snap elections will most likely lead to better results for the Communists, who oppose European-style reforms,” journalist Petru Clej said.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic and one of Europe’s poorest countries, has been marked by political turbulence in recent years. The pro-European alliance, which took power in 2009, was unable to muster enough votes in parliament to elect a president for almost two years.
Moldova was part of Romania before the Soviet Union annexed it in World War II. Before the First World War it was part of Tsarist Russia. A landlocked country lying between Romania and Ukraine, most people speak Romanian, although the country’s constitution calls the language Moldovan. Russian is also widely spoken.
Russia and neighbouring EU member Romania vie for influence in Moldova, where reforms are needed to end corruption and depoliticise key institutions like the judiciary and police.