Moldova parliament approves alliance government to end political crisis

Chisinau (AFP) –


Moldova's parliament on Saturday approved a new government that is an unprecedented alliance between pro-Russia and pro-European forces in a bid to see off a political crisis sparked by February elections.

No party won a clear majority in the chaotic polls, throwing the ex-Soviet nation into political uncertainty and raising concerns of turmoil in the tiny nation nestled between Ukraine and Romania.

After months of negotiations, a coalition was agreed between the Socialist Party of President Igor Dodon, which took 35 out of 101 parliamentary seats in February's vote, and the pro-European ACUM alliance, which had 26 seats.

The agreement goes against the opinion of the Constitutional Court, which on Friday judged that parliament should be dissolved and new elections held.

It aims to freeze out the second biggest parliamentary force, the Democratic party, which is led by powerful oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc and took 30 seats at the elections.

Plahotniuc, whose party previously had a majority, was also the subject of strong criticism in a resolution in the parliament that compared Moldova to a state held "captive" by powerful oligarchs.

"The oligarchs have established a dictatorship driven by manipulation, terror, lies and disinformation. The country is wallowing in corruption," said a statement read out by the new interior minister Andrei Nastase.

Both Dodon and Nastase have previously accused the Democratic Party of massive electoral fraud that involved bringing in people from Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria and telling them how to vote.

Dodon is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, which also backs separatists in the breakaway region of Transnistria.

But many Moldovans hope for a future within Europe -- following the lead of Romania, with which the former Soviet republic shares close cultural links.

Moldova has struggled to find its place since gaining independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The economy is propped up by remittances from workers abroad, which has caused the working-age population to fall sharply.

Moldova last year ranked 117 out of 180 nations in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.