Moldova ex-ruling party cedes power to halt crisis

Chisinau (AFP) –


Moldova's Democratic Party on Friday announced it would leave government after days of refusing to cede power to a new coalition backed by the US, EU and Russia, halting a crisis in the Eastern European nation.

The poor former Soviet state, nestled between Romania and Ukraine, has been in political chaos since February when a general election failed to give a clear majority to any party.

Last week parliament approved a government built on an unprecedented coalition of pro-Russian and pro-European forces, freezing out the previously ruling Democratic Party that is led by a powerful oligarch.

That government however refused to stand down and Democratic Prime Minister Pavel Filip was briefly instituted as president to dissolve parliament and call snap elections.

But on Friday, Filip and party deputy leader Vladimir Cebotari said the government would step down.

"We will go into opposition," Cebotari said during a televised briefing. He accused the new coalition government of refusing to engage in dialogue and insisted it would be right to hold early elections.

President Igor Dodon annulled the decree to dissolve parliament shortly after he was reinstated as head of state following a brief suspension by the Constitutional Court.

The pro-Russian Socialist Party and pro-European ACUM agreed at the weekend to work together in government, despite different views in many areas.

Both parties said in a statement to parliament that Moldova was "wallowing in corruption" and "captive" to oligarchs.

One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova was part of Romania before it became a Soviet republic and later independent. It contains a Russian-backed breakaway region called Transnistria.