Moldova. The power struggle between Moscow-friendly
President Igor Dodon and EU-friendly Prime Minister Pavel
Filip continued during the year. In January, Filip won a
victory in the Constitutional Court when Dodon was deprived
of his powers after repeatedly refusing to approve
pro-European ministers nominated by Filip. Instead, they
were sworn in by the President of Parliament.
Countryaah.com, President Dodon vetoed again, now against a media law
aimed at Russian TV broadcasts. Dodon accused Parliament of
inflicting anti-Russian hysteria and violating freedom of
expression. The Constitutional Court withdrew powers from
the President, and the law was signed by the President.
In March, the Minister of Justice resigned after a tape
recording revealed a conversation between him and a man who
was later convicted of involvement in a major bank fraud.
A former MP was sentenced to 14 years in prison on
charges of treason and espionage for Russian military
intelligence. The politician denied the charges.
In March, more than 10,000 people in the capital Chișinău
demonstrated in support of a reunification between Romania
and Moldova. One of the speakers was Romania's president.
After World War I, what is today Moldova was in Greater
Romania but was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and
became independent in 1991. President Dodon wants a ban on
organizations advocating union with Romania.
In May, eight Moldovan citizens were sentenced to prison
for fighting on the side of the Prorean rebels in eastern
Ukraine. Another 25 Moldavans are wanted internationally in
connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine, according
to the prosecutor's office.
The mayor's election in Chișinău in June led to protests.
The election was won by an EU-friendly candidate, Andrei
Năstase, but the result was annulled in court. Năstase
claimed that the court was influenced by the country's
strong man, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, the
oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc. However, the Supreme Court
affirmed the decision.
The EU and the US criticized the court, saying that the
country's democratic credibility was undermined. The EU
decided to withhold € 100 million in grants to Moldova.
Amnesty International criticized Moldova in September for
the expulsion of a group of Turkish citizens with links to
the opposition exile Turkish minister Fethullah Gülen.
President Dodon rejected media reports that the deportation
was a condition of Turkey for a major donation for the
renovation of the presidential palace in Chișinău.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD) announced the purchase of 41% of the shares in
Moldova's largest bank Agroindbank with the intention of
promoting openness in the country's financial system
following the major banking scandal.