Moldova parliament approves Natalia Gavrilita as new prime minister

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Moldova’s parliament confirmed pro-Western President Maia Sandu’s government on Friday after her PAS party won a snap election in July promising to root out corruption and mend ties with the European Union.

Parliament approved Sandu’s nomination of Natalia Gavrilita as the new prime minister by 61 votes in the 101 seat parliament.

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.

“We will cleanse state institutions of corrupt officials,” Gavrilita said ahead of the vote.

Sandu defeated her pro-Russian predecessor Igor Dodon in a presidential election in November and called the snap parliamentary poll to consolidate her power.

Gavrilita’s programme includes an overhaul of the prosecutor’s office, which she accused of slow-rolling corruption cases. Prosecutor General Alexandru Stoianoglo says his office acts in accordance with the law.

The incoming government expects to receive 600 million euros ($708 million) between 2022-2024 in assistance from the European Union, as well as money from the International Monetary Fund.

The West and Russia are competing for influence in the ex-Soviet republic of 3.5 million people, which is one of Europe’s poorest nations and has suffered a sharp economic downturn during the pandemic.

Moldova, which borders EU member Romania, has been dogged by instability and corruption scandals in recent years, including the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system. 

Photo: Prime minister-designate Natalia Gavrilita delivers her speech during a special session of Parliament to present her governmental programme and a list of ministers, in Chisinau, Moldova, 06 August 2021. EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU