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Moldovan President Says Court's Suspension Of His Powers 'Shameful'

Moldovan President Igor Dodon holds a year-end press conference in Chisinau last month.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon holds a year-end press conference in Chisinau last month.

CHISINAU -- Moldova's pro-Moscow president, Igor Dodon, has rejected a Constitutional Court decision to temporarily suspend his powers amid a standoff over ministerial appointments with his opponents in Chisinau's pro-Western government.

"The court once more confirmed its image of a rubber-stump political tool, not a constitutional body. This is a shameful and regrettable fall for a state that claims to be democratic," Dodon wrote on Facebook, vowing "not to give in."

Earlier, Dodon blocked Prime Minister Pavel Filip's nominations for new ministers in a reshuffle. Dodon said the government-proposed candidates were incompetent and accused some of them of being linked to a high-profile scandal in which around $1 billion was siphoned out of Moldova's banking system.

In response, the ruling coalition asked the Constitutional Court to suspend Dodon's powers so the government could form a cabinet with the nominees.

The court ruled on January 2 that presidential powers be temporarily delegated either to the parliamentary chairperson or to the prime minister.

Dodon is frequently at odds with Filip and his government, which favors closer ties with the EU and the United States.

In December, Filip's government recalled its envoy to Russia for consultations -- accusing Moscow of harassing and intimidating Moldovan officials and ignoring Chisinau's complaints about the issue.

In March, Filip and parliament speaker Andrian Candu summoned the Russian ambassador to Chisinau to protest what they said was abusive action by unnamed Russian intelligence services against Moldovan officials.

In May, Filip's government declared five Russian diplomats persona non grata.

The government in Chisinau says its officials were being mistreated in a bid to derail an investigation into a Russian-led money-laundering operation.

With reporting by Reuters and Interfax