Moldovan president signs decree dissolving parliament

Moldova's presidential candidate Maia Sandu gestures as she leaves the Action and Solidarity Party office in Chisinau, early on November 16, 2020, following her victory in the second round of the country's presidential election. (SERGEI GAPON / AFP)

BUCHAREST – Moldovan President Maia Sandu on Wednesday signed a decree on the dissolution of the parliament, setting the date for snap elections on July 11.

Sandu made the decision immediately after the top court declared unconstitutional the 60-day state of emergency voted by parliament on March 31.

Under the Constitution, the parliament could not be dissolved during a state of emergency.

The authors of the challenges to the top court, deputies of the opposition Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), argued that the legislation was violated when declaring a state of emergency, as the initiative was signed by several socialist deputies and not by the government or the head of state, as would have been legal.

Sandu made the decision immediately after the top court declared unconstitutional the 60-day state of emergency voted by parliament on March 31

ALSO READ: Maia Sandu sworn in as Moldova's first female president

Sandu, who founded and led the PAS before she became president, told a press briefing soon after signing the decree that the way was opened for the citizens to elect a new parliament that will serve their interests.

"We are ready to face this political challenge," Igor Dodon, leader of the Party of Socialists, the largest party in parliament, said on social media, warning that all those who insist on an immediate early election must take full responsibility for the risks to which Moldovan citizens are exposed.

According to him, the snap parliamentary elections were inevitable, but "we should have postponed them because of the pandemic," as by autumn, the number of infected people should be already declining.

The current parliament was elected in February 2019, with a term of four years. The country has been managed by a caretaker government for over four months since the resignation of Prime Minister Ion Chicu on Dec. 23, 2020, as the two prime ministers-designate named by the head of state failed to lead their cabinets through a vote of confidence in the parliament.

READ MORE: Moldovans vote in presidential election as incumbent bids for second term

On April 15, the Constitutional Court ruled that the parliament could be dissolved over its inability to approve a government within the constitutional deadline.

According to a survey conducted late last year, if an early election is held in the near future, the PAS may win and become the largest party in the new parliament.

Currently, the Party of Socialists, led by former President Dodon, is the largest party in the 101-seat parliament with 37 seats, while the PAS has 15 seats.