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Moldova's President Says Lawmakers, Government Trying To Usurp His Powers

"There will never be an usurpation of presidential powers in the interests of someone abroad," Moldovan President Igor Dodon said.

CHISINAU -- Moldova's pro-Russia president, Igor Dodon, has accused parliament and the country's government of attempting to limit his powers as supreme commander of Moldova's armed forces in the interest of foreign powers -- warning that the alleged effort will lead to mass street protests.

Dodon told reporters in Chisinau on September 13 that parliament planned to amend legislation in order to be able to send Moldovan troops to NATO military exercises without his consent.

"It will not happen, because there are presidential powers -- whether you like it or not," Dodon said.

"There will never be an usurpation of presidential powers in the interests of someone abroad," he added. "People will come out to the streets."

"If you do not like that, let us have a referendum and see who the people trust," he said, addressing Moldova's pro-Western governing coalition.

Prime Minister Pavel Filip told journalists on September 13 that Moldova's parliament would meet in special session in order to override presidential vetoes on several bills previously passed by lawmakers.

Earlier in September, the government overruled an order by Dodon in order to send 57 Moldovan soldiers to NATO-led military exercises in Ukraine.

Those exercises, which began on September 8 and continue through September 23, involve some 1,800 troops from 14 countries -- most of them NATO members.

In a September 13 Facebook post, Dodon said he was rejecting the government's nomination for defense minister, Eugen Sturza.

Instead, he recommended one of his close political allies for the post, former Defense Minister Victor Gaiciuc.

The ongoing dispute between Dodon and the governing coalition underscores divisions in the country.

Dodon is frequently at odds on foreign policy with Filip's government, which favors closer ties with the EU and the United States.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax