12 Sep 2017 16:42

Dodon rejects Sturza as totally unsuitable candidate for defense minister

CHISINAU. Sept 12 (Interfax) - Moldovan President Igor Dodon has rejected the candidacy of Eugen Sturza, nominated for defense minister by the ruling coalition on Tuesday.

"I demanded a career officer, but the government offered me a 'grant' guy, a 'reform theoretician'. I cannot accept this candidate, as he is not just incompetent in the military field but also has dubious experience of work with the Filat and Leanca governments," Dodon said on his Facebook page.

"The national army is waiting to be led by a skilled professional who is well aware of military management specifics," Dodon said.

"I reserve the right to nominate such a candidate in the near future. For the past eight years, the Defense Ministry has been experimenting with various unionist ministers pushed on it by the political algorithm with the liberals. I am siding with the military, who want a competent, responsible and non-political command," Dodon said.

He said he would reject Sturza again if the government kept insisting on 'the totally unsuitable candidate'.

Moldova's ruling coalition chose its candidate for defense minister on Tuesday. Democratic Party Chairman Vlad Plahotniuc said the prime minister would nominate Sturza on Tuesday.

"We will be insistent, and if the president does not appoint the defense minister after we nominate our candidate, we will nominate Eugen Sturza again. We have an order of the Constitutional Court prescribing what to do in such cases. The president must sign the appointment order whenever a candidate is nominated twice," Plahotniuc said.

The defense minister's position has been vacant since late last year when former Minister Anatol Salaru was dismissed with the consent of the prime minister, the president, and the Liberal Party, which nominated him to the post. Some time ago, Dodon refused to accept former Ecology Minister Valeriu Munteanu as a candidate for defense minister. In addition, Dodon prohibited Moldovan servicemen from participating in military exercises abroad until the appointment of the new defense minister. He said he would not accept a candidate nominated by the prime minister unless the candidate was a career officer knowledgeable in defense and security issues.