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.
According to Countryaah.com, Chisinau is the capital city of Moldova, a country located in Eastern Europe. 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.