Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu's pro-Western government has collapsed after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament.
A total of 63 out of 101 lawmakers voted on November 12 against Sandu's government as deputies from the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), which was until recently led by fugitive oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, joined colleagues from the pro-Russian Moldovan Socialist Party (PSRM) to topple the administration.
The PSRM, led by President Igor Dodon, filed the no-confidence motion on November 8 after Sandu's cabinet changed the procedure for appointing the prosecutor-general, under which the prime minister would nominate candidates for the position.
Sandu had proposed that the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's expert body on constitutional law, examine the amendments after they took effect, but the PSRM rejected the compromise.
Following the collapse of the government, Dodon summoned all parliamentary factions for consultations on November 13.
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic voiced concern over Moldova's continuing to pursue much-needed reforms.
The vote "sends worrying signals for the reform process in the country," Kocijancic said in a statement on November 12, adding, "The need for such reforms has not gone away with the voting down of the government."
Following inconclusive national elections in February that sparked a major constitutional crisis in the summer, Sandu, backed by the pro-European ACUM alliance, formed an uneasy coalition with the PSRM.
Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014 and, in September, the European Commission praised Sandu's new government for having moved "resolutely" to implement key reforms to reinforce democracy and the rule of law.
However, the tense relations within the coalition worsened after a PSRM candidate on November 4 was elected as mayor of Chisinau, the nation’s capital, defeating ACUM candidate Andrei Nastase.
The Socialists are currently the strongest political force in Chisinau’s local city council.
Moldova has struggled to implement reforms urged by many in the West after the disappearance of more than $1 billion from state-owned banks five years ago. The missing funds helped shatter the already impoverished ex-Soviet state's economy and took down the government.
Plahotniuc, a controversial tycoon whose critics say wielded overwhelming control over Moldova's politics and economy, left the country after his PDM party lost power in summer.
With reporting by newsmaker.md, noi.md, and news.am
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Venice Commission was an EU body rather than an advisory body of the Council of Europe.