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'Moldova's outgoing government doesn't want to leave power': Foreign Minister-designate Nicu Popescu

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By Emma Beswick
'Moldova's outgoing government doesn't want to leave power': Foreign Minister-designate Nicu Popescu

The Democratic Party government in Moldova "simply does not want to leave power," Foreign Minister-designate Nicu Popescu told Euronews.

His comments came amid political chaos in the country which took hold after elections in February were inconclusive and the subsequent attempts to form and install a new government, culminated in the positions of Prime Minister and Speaker of the Parliament, as well as the powers and duties of the President, being claimed by competing individuals.

Popescu, who is the director of the think-tank European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and teaches at Paris' prestigious Sciences Po school, announced he would be taking up a position in "a government led by Maia Sandu" of the pro-EU group ACUM on Saturday.

It came after a surprise, last-minute coalition deal was struck between the Socialist Party and ACUM on Saturday — Sandu was elected as prime minister by MPs in the afternoon.

The EU, US and Russia all expressed support for the coalition.

Prior to this, it was thought a snap election was the only way to break the deadlock.

But the country's Constitutional Court stripped pro-Russian Socialist Party President Igor Dodon of his duties on Sunday after his party agreed to the unprecedented coalition and swore in the new government.

It appointed the former prime minister Pavel Filip of the Democratic Party as interim president, who immediately signed a decree to dissolve parliament and hold a snap election in September.

However, parliament refused to accept, claiming the country's state institutions had been seized.

"The country is in a crucial moment," Popescu said. "For the last years, it has been governed by an oligarch — that oligarch lost power in February and now doesn't want to leave power."

READ MORE: Moldovan president suspended, snap elections called amid deepening crisis

"We are clearly facing a constitutional standoff," said Popescu, who denounced the country's Constitutional Court and said the Moldovan court system was "politicised".

The new government is supported by a majority of voters who expressed their will in February in elections that were recognised as "free and fair" by several institutions including the Council of Europe and USA, he added.

"Part of the reason why this crisis is happening is because the population of Moldova does not want to be run by a government that is not supported by a majority of voters," the Foreign Minister-designate said.

It is feared that the prolonged political crisis could lead to violent clashes on the streets of the country — one of the poorest in Europe.

Watch the full interview with Nicu Popescu in the above video player.

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