Moldova’s constitutional court has said it is unconstitutional for President Maia Sandu to nominate Natalia Gavrilita as prime minister for a second time after Parliament had already voted to reject the nomination.
Tuesday’s ruling could hobble Sandu’s efforts to hold a snap general election and prolong a standoff between the pro-European Union president and a Parliament that is dominated by lawmakers aligned with her pro-Russia predecessor Igor Dodon.
“This aggravates the political crisis in Moldova,” said political analyst Vitalie Andrievschi.
Sandu won the presidential election in November but has accused Parliament of trying to sabotage her presidency and curb her powers.
She wants to hold an early parliamentary election, hoping a win for the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), the party she led before becoming president, would shore up her power.
Sandu had nominated Gavrilita as prime minister in January but the PAS lawmakers voted against the former finance minister to enable a snap poll.
The president is allowed to dissolve Parliament if it twice fails to appoint a new government within the space of 45 days.
Dodon is now again the leader of the Socialist party after losing the presidency. His Socialist-led parliamentary majority nominated a rival candidate, Mariana Durlesteanu.
Sandu in turn rejected Durlesteanu and nominated Gavrilita again, hoping to be able to call a snap election if Gavrilita fails to win enough votes in Parliament during a second vote at a later date.
“Moldova has a president who has already grossly violated the constitution twice in the two months of his mandate,” Dodon said after Tuesday’s ruling.
A country of 3.5 million people, Moldova has been beset by instability and corruption scandals in recent years, including the disappearance of $1bn from the banking system.