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Moldova: Parliament Backs Ion Chicu As New PM

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Moldova’s parliament backed ex-finance minister Ion Chicu as the country’s new prime minister, a day after he was nominated for the post by pro-Russian President Dodon.

By Madalin Necsutu

Moldova’s Prime Minister-designate Ion Chicu was approved by the country’s parliament on Thursday, along with his proposed list of ministers who will form the new cabinet following the collapse of the former government led by pro-Western PM Maja Sandu just days prior.

Having formed a list of proposed ministers overnight, Chicu secured the support of 62 out of 101 deputies.

With the pro-European ACUM bloc boycotting the vote, support for the new cabinet came from the pro-Russian Socialist Party, headed de facto by Dodon, and the centre-left Democratic Party, which was led by fugitive oligarch Vladimir Platohniuc until his party lost power in mid-June.

“The government will be attacked from all sides, as I saw already in the parliament. This is not a government of the president of the country [Dodon]. We are a technocratic government without political affiliations,” said Ion Chicu in a press briefing after the vote.

The new cabinet has 10 ministers, eight of which are former presidential advisors to Dodon, including the new Defence Minister, Victor Gaiciuc, to who Dodon is also godfather to his son.

No women were invited to be part of the new cabinet.

Following the vote, freshly dismissed Sandu claimed that the Socialists “look into the eye of citizens and lie without any shame.”

“They said they were technocratic, apolitical, but they have formed a government made up almost entirely of Dodon’s advisers. They said they did not ally with the Democratic Party, but they backed a Parliament based on common interests and common corruption schemes,” Sandu said.

Sandu’s fragile coalition government between the pro-Western ACUM bloc and pro-Russian Socialists was felled in a no-confidence vote on November 12, just five months after coming to power on a promise to fight corruption.

The vote was tabled by the Socialists after relations broke down over a proposed reform of how to pick the top prosecutor.

The 47-year-old new PM Chicu was born in the village of Parjolteni in the Calarasi district, in the same county as Dodon.

Before becoming a presidential advisor this summer, he was Moldova’s finance minister from December 2018 until June 2019, in the cabinet led by Pavel Filip, the current leader of the Democratic Party.

In his new role, Chicu promised to maintain a good relationship both with the West and Russia, promoting the implementation of reforms and continuity in Moldova’s relations with international lenders.

“The government will continue to fulfill all obligations of the state to external partners and international financial organisations, primarily the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,” Chicu told parliament on Thursday.

Chicu also stressed his hope to develop strategic partnerships with both the US and Russia, but did not mention anything about tackling high-level corruption.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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