CHISINAU (Reuters) – Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Thursday the former Soviet republic’s coalition government could collapse following a move by the prime minister to take on powers to nominate the prosecutor general.
A special commission under the justice ministry had been expected to select the next prosecutor general, but Prime Minister Maia Sandu said on Wednesday she wanted to be able to personally make the choice.
The move, outlined in draft legislation, is an attempt to strengthen Sandu’s ability to fight corruption, one of her government’s main tasks. But it has split the government, as it faces opposition from her Socialist coalition partners.
Dodon, who was the Socialist party leader before he became president, wrote on Facebook that he had urged Sandu to change her mind and discussed the situation with the ambassadors of the United States, Russia and the European Union.
He said he had informed the envoys “about the risks associated with the possible resignation of the government of the Republic of Moldova.”
But Sandu, a Harvard-educated former World Bank economist, told a local television station that she was standing firm.
She said “we will not withdraw this initiative. And if the Socialist party considers the decision as unconstitutional, it is their right.”
Parliament is due to meet on Friday and discuss the legislation, which can be blocked by a majority of deputies.
Moldova, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, is one of Europe’s poorest countries. The country of 3.5 million people has long been on the front lines of geopolitical rivalry between the EU and Russia.
The coalition has been in power only since June, when the Russia-backed Socialists agreed to go into power with Sandu’s pro-EU ACUM bloc, ending months of political uncertainty after an election in February produced a hung parliament.
(Reporting by Alexander Tanas, writing by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)