Wed, 17 Jul 2019

Moldova's Entire Constitutional Court Resigns

27 Jun 2019, 05:45 GMT+10

All six judges on Moldova's Constitutional Court have stepped down amid calls for their resignation after decisions made by the court fueled a political crisis in the ex-Soviet country.

The court made the announcement in a statement on June 26, adding that the competent authorities will be notified in order to appoint new judges.'

The chairman of the court, Mihai Poalelungi, had resigned on June 20 after President Igor Dodon and other top officials urged him and other judges to step down.

Moldova has been in the throes of a simmering political crisis since it held inconclusive parliamentary elections in February.

On June 7, the Constitutional Court ordered the dissolution of parliament and ordered new elections to be held.

However, in an extraordinary parliamentary session on June 8, the pro-Russian Socialist Party and the pro-EU ACUM party formed a coalition and elected a government headed by ACUM co-Chairwoman Maia Sandu.

The alliance accused the court of misinterpreting the constitution and annulling the previous election results after 90 days instead of three months.

The former cabinet, dominated by the Democratic Party (PDM) of controversial tycoon Vlad Plahotniuc, questioned the legitimacy of the session, and this position was backed by the Constitutional Court.

On June 9, the court declared Sandu's government unconstitutional and suspended Moscow-friendly President Dodon, the former leader of the Socialist Party.

Then Pavel Filip, backed by PDM, stepped in as interim president, immediately dissolving the parliament and calling for snap elections on September 6.

The court's ruling invalidating the decisions of the June 8 parliamentary session has, in turn, been rejected by the Socialist-ACUM coalition.

After both governments claimed power for several days, Filip's government resigned on June 14 under pressure from both Russia and the West.

The Constitutional Court annulled its rulings that challenged the legitimacy of Sandu's government, formally ending the deadlock.

Critics have said the court is under the thumb of Plahotniuc, who controls numerous businesses and a media empire, and who is accused by some of running Moldova from the shadows.

President Dodon welcomed the judges' resignation on June 26 and said the new team of the judges must be independent and should 'eliminate the factor of political influence and backdoor games.'

With reporting by AP and Interfax

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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