CHISINAU -- Moldova's Constitutional Court has ruled that the government does not need the signature of pro-Russian President Igor Dodon in order to enact a law that bans so-called "media propaganda" from Russia.
Dodon has criticized and twice refused to sign the legislation, which effectively bans news programs from Russia.
"Since the president refused twice to fulfill his constitutional duty to sign the bill into law, he will be suspended temporarily," Justice Tudor Pantiru, the Constitutional Court's president, wrote in the ruling from Chisinau on January 5.
Instead, Pantiru wrote, the bill can be signed into law by Moldova's prime minister or the speaker of the parliament.
The ruling allows Prime Minister Pavel Filip or parliament speaker Andrian Candu -- a member of Filip's pro-Western Democratic Party -- to use the same procedure the court has supported in other recent cases when Dodon has refused to sign legislation into law.
On January 2, the court allowed the procedure to be used in a standoff with Dodon over ministerial appointments.
Dodon had refused to approve Filip's nominations for new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle, saying they were incompetent and accusing some of being linked to a corruption scandal in which about $1 billion was siphoned out of Moldova's banking system.
The same procedure was used last autumn to confirm the appointment of a pro-Western defense minister.
Dodon is frequently at odds with Filip and his government, which favors closer ties with the EU and the United States.