17:06 02.01.2018

Moldovan Constitutional Court suspends President Dodon's powers

Moldovan Constitutional Court suspends President Dodon's powers

The Moldovan Constitutional Court has temporarily suspended President Igor Dodon's powers at a request by a group of parliamentarians from the ruling coalition.

The court made this decision on Tuesday, as Dodon had earlier twice declined the endorsement of candidates for five government ministers and two deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister. Moldovan laws stipulate that the president can do this only once and is obliged to endorse the appointments if the same candidates are nominated again.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the president had to be 'temporarily suspended' from performing his duties to unblock the appointment of new government ministers. The court reaffirmed that "the president is entitled to refuse to endorse a candidate for a government member only once," and if the prime minister nominates the same candidate again, the president is obliged to endorse the nomination.

The court concluded that "the president deliberately rejected the candidacies for government ministers" and therefore is "temporarily incapable of performing his official duties."

Parliamentary Chairperson Andrian Candu announced later in the day that he would sign the decrees appointing new government members, which is expected to happen on Friday, January 5. The new officials should be sworn in the same day.

At the end of December, a group of parliamentarians from the ruling coalition formally asked the Constitutional Court on behalf of the parliamentary Legal Committee for Appointments and Immunities "to acknowledge the circumstances in which the parliamentary chairperson or prime minister should temporarily perform presidential duties."

The parliamentarians motivated their step by the fact that President Igor Dodon had for the second time turned down Prime Minister Pavel Filip's proposal on appointing two deputy prime ministers and five government ministers instead of the government members previously relieved of their duties.

Dodon has relieved six of the nine government ministers of their duties at Prime Minister Pavel Filip's proposal. At the same time, the president turned down the new candidates for five government ministers and two deputy prime ministers nominated by Filip, saying that he would not sign decrees on their appointments in any circumstances. Dodon once again declined the candidacies nominated by Filip at the end of December.

The law entitles the president to decline the nominations, but he can do so only once. If the prime minister nominates the same candidate once again, the president is obliged to endorse that candidate's appointment. The Moldovan Constitutional Court has ruled that if the president fails to sign an appointment decree in this situation, the relevant presidential powers are to be delegated to the parliamentary chairman after a special appeal to the Constitutional Court.

In keeping with this procedure, Eugen Sturza was recently appointed defense minister after the president twice declined his nomination.

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