World Bulletin/News Desk
Moldova's parliament voted on Thursday to sack its speaker Marian Lupu, deepening a political crisis that has already led to the resignation of the government.
The parliament cannot pass laws without a full-time speaker and must be dissolved if it does not pass any legislation for three months. It also cannot name a new prime minister without a speaker.
Deputies from the party of former prime minister Vlad Filat sided with opposition communists in voting against Lupu, Filat's former ally in the now-defunct pro-European coalition.
Seventy-six deputies supported a motion to dismiss Lupu, with 67 votes required to pass it.
Earlier this week Moldova's Constitutional Court thwarted Filat's plans to be reinstated as head of government after losing a no-confidence vote in May.
The court barred Filat from being nominated for prime minister or even serving as acting prime minister.
By voting with the communists on Thursday, Filat's Liberal Democrats further deepened the rift with their two former allies, Lupu's Democrats and Liberals led by former acting president Mihai Ghimpu.
"My dismissal is a betrayal of Moldova's European integration," Lupu said. "The communists have long sought this, their air is clear: holding a snap election to return to power."
The three parties have run Moldova since 2009 - when they beat communists in a snap election - as members of the Alliance for European Integration.
But political and personal tensions destroyed the alliance this year after Filat attacked a state prosecutor over his alleged role in a lethal hunting accident.
Moldova, with a population of 3.6 million, is one of Europe's poorest countries with an average monthly salary of about $230. Heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies, its economy is kept afloat by remittances from several hundred thousand Moldovans working in Russia and EU countries.
Following the ruling against Filat, President Nicolae Timofti has said he would name a new nominee for prime minister next week.
However, it was not clear whether any candidate would be able to secure support of the majority amid open hostilities between erstwhile allies. A failure to name prime minister in three attempts will also trigger an early election.
Communists may potentially win a snap election, in which case they are likely to scrap the plans to sign landmark agreements with the European Union on free trade and political association this year.Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2013, 11:02