Moldovan parliament backs pro-European government

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The Moldovan parliament confirmed Natalia Gavrilita as the country’s new prime minister, also endorsing her program to lift the post-Soviet country out of a protracted crisis and bring it closer to the EU.

The main pro-European party won a resounding victory in parliamentary polls last month, strengthening the hand of President Maia Sandu as she pushes to reform Moldova.

The early elections – called by Sandu in April to consolidate his stance against pro-Russian lawmakers blocking reform – saw his center-right Action and Solidarity (PAS) party garner 52.8% of the vote.

On Friday, 61 lawmakers in the 101-seat parliament voted to endorse the candidacy of Gavrilita, 43, a former Harvard-trained finance minister.

“The government faces an extremely important task – to show that Moldova can be ruled by honest people with good intentions,” Gavrilita said, unveiling his program.

The new Prime Minister said she wanted to transform Moldova and its political class and put an end to corruption.

To that end, she added, she was increasing the number of cabinet ministers from nine to thirteen.

The government will focus on reforming the justice system, attracting investment, creating well-paying jobs and increasing pensions, she said.

“The new government will not steal, enact laws that encourage embezzlement or share state money,” Gavrilita said.

One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova has been rocked by numerous political crises and corruption scandals.

In 2014, $ 1 billion disappeared from three major banks plunging the country into a deep crisis.

Despite its small size, politics in tiny Moldova, which is wedged between Ukraine and NATO member Romania, has long been deeply sensitive.

The population of around 2.6 million has long been divided over closer ties to the European Union or over maintaining Soviet-era relations with Moscow.

Sandu, a 49-year-old former World Bank economist, was elected president last November.


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