Ex-Soviet state rejects ‘pro-Russia’ regional leader — RT World News

Moldova's President Maia Sandu refuses to include the elected president of an autonomous region in her government, citing “criminal” links.

Moldova's President Maia Sandu refused to sign a decree appointing the head of the autonomous region of Gagauzia, Yevgenia Gutul, as a member of the government, as required by the country's legislation.

This is according to the news portal Gagauzinfo, citing a statement made by Sandu on Monday at a press conference in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.

Gagauzia, an autonomous region in southern Moldova, elected Gutul – a member of the opposition Shor party – as its governor last May. The Constitutional Court of Moldova later ordered the party to be dissolved.

“A person who works for a criminal group and not for the citizens of Moldova and residents of the autonomous community, and who makes statements against his country, has no connection with the government of Moldova.” President Sandu reportedly said, and also called for a legislative evaluation of Gutul's statements.

Commenting on Gutul's recent visit to Russia, the Moldovan President claimed that Moscow “It has made clear that it relies on criminal groups to destabilize the situation in Moldova.”

Gutul traveled to Russia in February to ask President Vladimir Putin to support the region in the confrontation “Illegal actions taken by the Moldova authorities”

The 37-year-old president of the Gagauzia region has been increasingly at odds with pro-EU Sandu since she was elected last year as the region's leader. The president's refusal to comply with the constitutional rule to include Gotul in the government was based on alleged irregularities in the elections.

Moldova, a small country of 2.6 million located between Ukraine and Romania, has taken a distinctly pro-Western course since Sandu came to power in 2020.

Sandu now intends to run for a second term in the presidential elections this fall, and has promised to maintain her government's pro-Western course and make the country a full member of the European Union by 2030. She also claimed that “The regime in Moscow seeks control” its state by interfering in elections, and even attempting a coup.

Russia denied allegations of interference in the country's affairs and accused Sandu of stirring up anti-Russian sentiment.

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