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Moldovan Assembly Dismisses Government

Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet is seen on a screen outside the parliament building in Chisinau as he speaks inside shortly before he was dismissed on October 29.

CHISINAU -- The Moldovan parliament has voted overwhelmingly to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Valieriu Strelet.

A total of 65 deputies in the 101-seat legislature voted in favor of no-confidence motion against Strelet's government on October 29.

The vote was secured when Marian Lupu, leader of the Democratic Party, a member of the rulinmg coalition, said he would join with the opposition Socialist Party and the Moldovan Communist Party in voting against Strelet.

Strelet -- who was appointed on July 30 -- had said ahead of the vote that he would not resign amid large public demonstrations in Moldova over a massive bank fraud.

Strelet said stepping down would mean acknowledging the corruption allegations against him and would result in a delay in vital negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

During the debate ahead of the no-confidence vote, Lupu said he will not seek a new ruling alliance with the pro-Russian Socialists or Communists, but instead will try to "reset" the current alliance and keep the country on its pro-European course.

Ties within the ruling coalition have been poisoned by the October 15 arrest of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, a Liberal-Democrat, who is accused of corruption and of accepting a bribe worth some $260 million.

The bribe was allegedly part of a bank fraud in which up to $1.5 billion vanished from three Moldovan banks ahead of the 2014 elections.

The Liberal-Democrats say that the probe of Filat -- who was prime minister from 2009 to 2013 -- was ordered by the Democrat oligarch turned politician Vlad Plahotniuc.

The Socialist Party held a demonstration in front of parliament ahead of the vote demanding that the government resign.

Protesters chanted "Down with the bandits" and "Down with the oligarchs."

Hundreds of others have been camping out in central Chisinau, the capital, pledging to stay until the government and the president resigned and new elections were called.