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Premier Candidate Sturza Vows To Purge Moldova Of Corruption

The candidate to become Moldova's next prime minister is pledging to purge the government of the corruption that led to a major banking scandal this year.

Ion Sturza told journalists in Chisinau December 28 that he would do his best to "identify those responsible for the theft of $1 billion from the country's banking system."

"We know who is to blame. They have been plundering the country for years. I will spare no effort to [get] this money back," he vowed as he pushed to drum up weak support for his nomination in parliament.

The scandal last spring triggered mass protests in Chisinau and led to the resignation of two previous prime ministers.

Sturza, who headed the cabinet in 1999, was nominated on December 21. A vote on his nomination is scheduled for January 4.

Sturza said his government will install "new people" who "have nothing to do with politics."

"If we fail to withdraw Moldova from control of the oligarchic and corrupted groups, the number of people who are not sure of their future in the country and are willing to emigrate or support Moldova's joining Romania will increase significantly," he said.

Based on reporting by EurAsia Daily and TASS