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Moldovan gov't collapses in confidence vote

Tuesday - 3/5/2013, 8:00am  ET

Associated Press

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) -- Moldova's pro-European government collapsed Tuesday after it was defeated in a confidence vote caused by rivalries within the ruling coalition, likely leading to new elections.

The vote raises questions whether the former Soviet republic will move away from the European Union -- which the government has been working toward joining for the past two years -- and seek closer relations with Moscow.

Some 54 lawmakers voted to oust the government of reformist Prime Minister Vlad Filat, after his main partner in the Alliance for European Integration broke away over a battle to control the justice system.

Filat, 43, who became prime minister in January 2011, has moved this impoverished nation of 4.1 million closer to Europe. Moldova is one of Europe's poorest nations, with an average monthly salary of some $230. Some 600,000 Moldovans work abroad, mainly in EU countries and Russia.

The opposition Communist Party which is opposed to European-style reforms, brought the confidence motion, saying Moldovans were dissatisfied with the economy and corruption. Filat's government has three days to step down and can try to form a new coalition before an election has to be called.

It is uncertain whether Filat will be able to form a new coalition after relations deteriorated between him and Marian Lupu, who heads the Democratic Party, over which party nominates the post of general prosecutor. Lupu's party voted against the government.

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