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Moldovan Parliament Speaker Passes Law Against Russian Propaganda


Moldovan parliament speaker Andrian Candu (file photo)

CHISINAU -- The speaker of Moldova's parliament, Andrian Candu, has signed legislation appointing seven new government ministers along with a law that bans Russian "media propaganda."

The signings on January 10 took place after Moldova's Constitutional Court suspended pro-Russia President Igor Dodon's powers on the issues and ruled that Candu could ratify the legislation, which was proposed by Moldova's pro-Western government and passed by pro-Western lawmakers in the parliament.

The so-called "media propaganda" law effectively bans the rebroadcasting in Moldova of Russian television programs on news, analysis, politics, and military issues.

The Constitutional Court ruled on January 5 that either Candu or Prime Minister Pavel Filip could sign the bill into law because Dodon had "refused twice to fulfill his constitutional duty to sign the bill into law."

Both Candu and Filip are members of the pro-Western Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM).

On January 2, the court ruled that the same procedure could be used to confirm Filip's nominees in a cabinet reshuffle that Dodon refused to ratify.

Dodon said Filip's nominees were incompetent and that some were corrupt.

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

Dodon on January 10 said Moldova's seven newly appointed ministers "lack legitimacy." He also said the Constitutional Court helped Filip's government to violate "the principles of democracy and a rule-of-law state."

Pro-Russia political parties in Moldova on January 10 called for street protests.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti condemned enactment of the law against rebroadcasting certain Russian television programs, saying it will be used to prohibit all Russian media broadcasts in Moldova.

Russian authorities also have been at odds with the PDM over its attempts to bolster Chisinau's ties with the EU and the United States.

The Moscow city court on January 10 upheld the legality of charges filed in absentia against the president of the PDM, Vlad Plahotniuc.

Plahotniuc, one of Moldova's most influential pro-Western politicians, was charged in absentia in November 2017 in Moscow's Basmanny district court of attempted murder in Russia.

Russian authorities allege that Plahotniuc was behind a March 2012 assassination attempt against German Gorbuntsov, the former owner of banks in Russia and Moldova.

Gorbuntsov was shot several times in east London by a man armed with a submachine gun, but survived the attack.

Aleksandr Nekrassov, a former Kremlin adviser, told the BBC in 2012 that the attack appeared to be linked to information Gorbuntsov claimed to have about the attempted assassination of another Russian banker, Aleksandr Antonov.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, Interfax, and TASS