12 Sep 2017 15:34

Ruling coalition in Moldova planning to further limit presidential powers

CHISINAU. Sept 12 (Interfax) - The ruling coalition in Moldova intends to propose amendments to the law to deprive President Igor Dodon of the powers to prohibit participation of servicemen in exercises abroad, Vlad Plahotniuc, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, told journalists on Tuesday.

"We have come to the conclusion that we are losing money and important programs on the modernization of our armed forces because of Mr. Dodon's political and geopolitical preferences. This is unacceptable. It's absolutely unacceptable to sanction the armed forces for performing their duties. Democratic Party specialists should find a solution such that servicemen's participation in exercises, courses, and training sessions with foreign partners would be possible without the president's endorsement. The relevant amendments will be made to the law," Plahotniuc said.

This can be done in the near future, when the parliament gathers for a special meeting to discuss the bills that the president has refused to promulgate, he said.

"The president absolutely groundlessly returned important bills to parliament. The matter concerns bills on curbing terrorism, on the reform of the Academy of Sciences, on the energy industry, which grants more independence to the regulatory body, and on food coupons, which really benefits the people. The president's refusal to promulgate these bills will have negative consequences for the people. And we should urgently vote on them once again. This will be done at a special parliamentary meeting, before the resumption of the plenary meetings of the fall and winter session," Plahotniuc said.

Prime Minister Pavel Filip will nominate civic activist and Deputy Chairman of the European People's Party Eugen Sturza as a candidate for defense minister, he said.

"We have conducted consultations on the matter, and there have been seven candidates, including three women. We have selected a candidate capable of modernizing the National Army and managing army politicians. We dismiss any schemes and compromises on the matter and will insist on appointing Sturza defense minister," Plahotniuc said.

The party leadership also discussed last week's incident regarding participation of Moldovan servicemen in military exercises in Ukraine, he said.

President Dodon forbade Moldovan servicemen to take part in multinational military exercises in Ukraine last week. In response to this, the government decided last Wednesday to authorize participation of Moldovan servicemen in the Rapid Trident 2017 exercise in Ukraine, despite the president's ban. On Thursday, a unit of Moldovan servicemen departed for Yavoriv, Lviv region of Ukraine, where the Rapid Trident 2017 exercise is proceeding from September 7 to 23. The Moldovan unit includes 57 servicemen from the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion and the Moldova Brigade.

Dodon signed a decree last Friday banning involvement of Moldovan servicemen in any exercises, training sessions and courses abroad without the commander-in-chief's written permission. He also gave orders to identify the military officials responsible for sending Moldovan servicemen to Ukraine and initiate their demotion.