Moldova’s Constitutional Court has endorsed a draft amendment to the constitution to change the official name of the country's language from Moldovan to Romanian.
The proposal to amend Article 13 of the constitution was initiated by the pro-European Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM), and signed by 35 lawmakers. It is expected to be debated in parliament from April next year.
It is not clear whether the proposed amendment will get enough support in parliament. Constitutional changes need a two-thirds majority in the chamber -- 67 votes out of 101 -- to be adopted.
One of the initiators of the motion, the chairman of the PLDM parliamentary faction, Tudor Deliu, welcomed the court's October 31 decision.
"The first step has been made, historical justice has been restored. The citizens of the Republic of Moldova speak the Romanian language. Everyone knows that. And this should be inscribed in the constitution," Deliu said.
However, pro-Russian President Igor Dodon, who wants Moldovan to remain the official name of the country’s language, said that the matter should be handled through a referendum.
"The absolute majority of the native population of the Republic of Moldova thinks it speaks in Moldovan," Dodon wrote on his Facebook page.
In a statement, the Socialist Party also opposed the proposed change, and said that judges at the Constitutional Court who hold dual citizenship should not decide for the future of Moldovans – a reference to judges who hold both Moldovan and Romanian citizenship.
In December 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled that the official language in Moldova is Romanian, as stated in the country's 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
However, the country's constitution, which was adopted in 1994, currently says that the official language is Moldovan.
With reporting by Interfax