The U.S. State Department has said a vote by the Moldovan parliament to dismiss the head of the Constitutional Court was a "blatant attack on Moldova's democratic norms and its constitutional order."
The State Department said in a statement that parliament’s targeting of the Constitutional Court, "which only recently asserted its independence after years of state capture," was of particular concern.
It also said parliament's vote on April 23 was an attempt to replace Constitutional Court President Domnica Manole with a candidate of its own choosing.
The vote came after the court backed a call by President Maia Sandu to dissolve parliament, paving the way for early elections.
It appears likely to complicate a standoff between Sandu and a parliament still dominated by lawmakers aligned with her pro-Russian predecessor.
Sandu, who came to office in November on a pro-European Union ticket, has accused the 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.
"We urge Moldova's leaders and representatives to respect the rule of law, safeguard its democratic institutions, and work together to resolve the challenges facing the country, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.
The EU earlier said the vote was an attack on Moldova's constitutional order.
The nonbinding vote to remove Manole must be agreed by the court itself.