Former finance minister Gavrilita nominated as Moldovan premier

Alexander Tanas
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Moldova's President Sandu meets EU Council President Michel in Brussels

By Alexander Tanas

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldovan President Maia Sandu said on Wednesday she was nominating former finance minister Natalia Gavrilita as prime minister but that the country could still head towards an early parliamentary election.

Gavrilita, 43, was finance minister when Sandu was prime minister in 2019, in a short-lived government that fell in a no-confidence vote within months. Before that, she worked with British-based consultancy Oxford Policy Management and at the non-profit Global Innovation Fund.

Sandu, who favours closer ties with the European Union, defeated her pro-Russian predecessor Igor Dodon in a presidential election in November but has tussled with a parliament dominated by lawmakers loyal to Dodon.

Under Moldovan law, Sandu is allowed to nominate a candidate to be prime minister, who has to be confirmed by parliament. If parliament rejects her choice twice in the space of 45 days, Sandu can dissolve parliament and set a date for a new election.

"I nominate Natalia Gavrilita for the post of Prime Minister of Moldova and entrust her with the formation of a government," Sandu told a news briefing on Wednesday.

"At the same time, I continue to insist that the current parliament must be dissolved in order to give citizens the right to elect a new parliament."

Dodon did not immediately comment on the nomination.

Sandu has accused the Socialist-dominated parliament of pushing through laws meant to strip her of powers and sabotage her presidency.

A snap election could consolidate her power if the right-leaning Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), which she led before becoming president, wins.

Moldova has been rocked in recent years by instability and corruption scandals, including the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system.

(Writing by Matthias Williams, Editing by William Maclean and Timothy Heritage)