22 Dec 2023 19:42

Romanian ex-finance minister Dragu heads up National Bank of Moldova

CHISINAU. Dec 22 (Interfax) - Former finance minister of Romania Anca Dragu has been appointed president of the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) after a vote in the Moldovan parliament.

Dragu's nomination was supported by all 58 ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) parliamentarians.

The parliamentary opposition Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BCS) said the appointment was "illegal" and vowed to challenge the decision in the Constitutional Court.

"This decision is PAS's narrow-partisan decision which humiliates the honor and the dignity of Moldovan banking specialists," BCS member Diana Caraman said.

PAS member Doina Gherman wished Dragu success in her new role.

"I am absolutely certain that your professionalism and integrity will serve as a departure point for the entire top management of the NBM, especially at this historical moment for Moldova: the opening of talks with the European Union [...] I am absolutely confident in this brave woman who will genuinely make her contribution for the NBM to become a strong, independent institution trusted by all Moldovan citizens," Gherman said.

Dragu spent over 15 years working for Romania's National Bank and the International Monetary Fund and served as Romanian finance minister (2015-2017). In 2020-2021, she was president of the Senate of Romania.

A day earlier Moldovan President Maia Sandu signed a decree granting citizenship to Dragu. By law, only a Moldovan citizen is eligible for the position of NBM president.

The bank's previous chief, Octavian Armasu, was dismissed yesterday after a unanimous vote by the ruling and opposition members of the Moldovan parliament. The decision came after parliamentary hearings into the theft of $1 billion from the banking system. The parliament accused Armasu of sabotage and hindering the inquiry into the 2014 theft from Moldova's banking system.

By law, the NBM president can be dismissed by two-thirds of votes in the parliament (67 out of 101). At the same time, the NBM president is appointed for a seven-year term by a simple majority of votes (51 out of 101).