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Moldova's Top Court Rules Pro-Western President Can Dissolve Parliament


Moldovan President Maia Sandu
Moldovan President Maia Sandu

CHISINAU -- Moldova’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Maia Sandu can dissolve parliament, paving the way for early elections.

The opinion is final and cannot be appealed, court President Domnica Manole said on April 15.

Sandu has accused the pro-Moscow, Socialist-dominated parliament of sabotaging her reform agenda and repeatedly pushed for snap elections in order to acquire a working majority in the 101-seat legislature.

In late March, Sandu appealed to the Constitutional Court for its opinion to dissolve parliament and call early parliamentary elections after the Socialist-led majority in chamber failed to approve two prime minister candidates nominated by the pro-Western president.

Under the constitution, the president has the right to ask for the dissolution of the legislature and organize snap elections after a second failure to approve a new prime minister within 45 days, or if the formation of a new government is blocked for three months.

In her argument before the court on April 15, Sandu said that she is "aware that dissolving parliament is a measure of last resort" to be used after all other political solutions have been exhausted.

"We have reached that point today," she told the judges, arguing that although they were aware of the outcome, the Socialist-led majority has twice rejected her appointees for prime minister.

Russian-backed ex-President Igor Dodon, who leads the Socialist Party, has said his party would use "all legal means" to prevent general elections from being held during the coronavirus pandemic.

A U.S.-educated former adviser with the World Bank, Sandu defeated Dodon in November 2020 on a pledge to fight entrenched corruption and improve relations with the European Union.

Moldova, with a population of about 3.5 million, is one of Europe’s poorest countries and is sharply divided between those who support closer ties with Russia and those who advocate stronger links to Brussels and neighboring EU member Romania, with which Moldova shares a common history and language.