CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova’s president named businessman and former minister Dorin Recean as the country’s prime minister-designate after the top government position was left vacant Friday when Natalia Gavrilita unexpectedly resigned 18 months into her crises-wracked tenure.
President Maia Sandu told a news conference that members of the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity, or PAS, accepted her choice of Recean as the new prime minister.
“I know that we need unity and a lot of work to get through the difficult period we are facing. The difficulties of 2022 postponed some of our plans, but they did not stop us,” Sandu said, adding that in 2023 she wants to focus on revamping key areas such as Moldova’s economy and its justice sector.
Recean, a 48-year-old economist who served as interior minister between 2012-2015, will have 15 days to form a new government to present to parliament for a vote.
Recean said he would “proceed immediately” with setting up a new government and that his main focus will be to introduce “order and discipline” in Moldova’s institutions, breathe new life into the economy and ensure peace and stability.
Following her resignation Friday, Gavrilita, a 41-year-old economist who was appointed prime minister in August 2021, told a news conference that her government “would have been able to move forward more and faster” had it garnered the same support and trust domestically as it did from other European countries.
Gavrilita’s premiership was marked by a long string of problems. These include an acute energy crisis after Moscow dramatically reduced supplies to Moldova and skyrocketing inflation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Compounding that were missiles from the war traversing Moldova’s skies.
She also said that no one expected her government “would have to manage so many crises caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine.”
“I took over the government with an anti-corruption, pro-development and pro-European mandate at a time when corruption schemes had captured all the institutions and the oligarchs felt untouchable,” Gavrilita said. “We were immediately faced with energy blackmail, and those who did this hoped that we would give in.”
“The bet of the enemies of our country was that we would act like previous governments, who gave up energy interests, who betrayed the national interest in exchange for short-term benefits,” she added.
Sandu thanked Gavrilita on Friday for her “enormous sacrifice and efforts to lead the country in a time of so many crises.”