(bne IntelliNews) – Moldova’s Constitutional Court has temporarily suspended pro-Russian President Igor Dodon from his post in order to allow the ruling coalition and the government to enact decrees that Dodon had refused to promulgate.
This is the third time Dodon has been temporarily suspended in recent months, and the second time since the beginning of this year.
The court suspended Dodon to allow the government to promulgate a bill that bans Russian propaganda, agora.md reported on January 5. Moldova’s parliament on December 7 endorsed an amendment to the media law to ban radio and TV programmes “with informative, analytic, military and politic” content produced abroad, except for those produced in the European Union, the US, Canada or signatories of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.
Earlier this month, the court suspended Dodon in order to allow the government to appoint seven new ministers as part of a broad reshuffle. Dodon had previously argued a reshuffle of such a size should have been endorsed by the parliament and furthermore questioned the quality of the nominees, many of whom have served in the governments involved in the costly bailout of the troubled banks at the cost of the public money, Dodon argued.
The latest incident serves self-declared pro-EU political leader Vlad Plahotniuc, who is seeking Western support for his fragile ruling coalition against Dodon but also against the pro-EU opposition parties. In a column published in the Wall Street Journal on December 27, Plahotniuc called once again for more support to be given by Western countries to nations like Moldova sitting on the front lines of Russia’s “informational and military aggression”. Indirectly, such repeated calls are aimed at enhancing the credibility of the Moldovan ruling coalition, which is broadly suspected at home of having preferred pro-Russian Dodon over his pro-EU rival Maia Sandu as president in the 2016 elections, in order to capture Western sympathy and avoid debates about its genuine democratic orientation.
Moldova’s pro-EU opposition parties have accused Plahotniuc of driving the country toward an authoritarian regime rather than a truly democratic market economy.
Analysts quoted by Deutsche Welle believe the ruling coalition will not permanently suspend Dodon from his post unless his credibility among voters drops low enough. This would require a referendum, and Dodon still enjoys robust support among Moldova’s pro-Russian electorate. In his turn, Dodon hopes his Socialist Party (PSRM) will win the parliamentary elections this year and replace the incumbent ruling coalition.