Moldova's president nominates former PM Sturza as new PM

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Chisinau, Dec 21: Moldova's president has nominated a former prime minister to become the country's next prime minister. President Nicolae Timofti late today said he chose businessman Ion Sturza, Moldova's prime minister from 1998 to 1999 during an economic downturn, because of his pro-European outlook.

Sturza said he would chose a Cabinet of technocrats but it was unclear whether Parliament would approve his nomination. Three pro-European parties have been unable to agree on a candidate for prime minister in recent weeks.

Moldova

Moldova has been mired in political instability for months, largely related to the disappearance of up to $1.5 billion from three banks before parliamentary elections last year.

Fourteen lawmakers have quit Moldova's Communist Party to form a new grouping that will likely strengthen the hand of pro-European parties in parliament.

Communist Party lawmaker Artur Resetnicov announced the new grouping Monday, which will be called "For Moldova."

The party is expected to be an ally of the Democratic Party, Moldova's largest pro-European party. Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union in June 2014, but traditional ally Russia and pro-Moscow parties in Moldova oppose membership.

Moldova has been mired in political instability for months, largely related to the disappearance of up to $1.5 billion from three banks before parliamentary elections last year. Parliament dismissed the previous government over allegations of corruption in late October. The Communist Party now has seven lawmakers in the 101-seat legislature.

AP

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