CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — The Moldovan government lost a no-confidence vote Thursday and was dismissed by Parliament, plunging the impoverished East European country into uncertainty.
Sixty-five lawmakers in the 101-seat legislature voted against the government of Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet, who was appointed July 30. Parliament now has three months to approve a new government or a new election will be held.
After the vote Thursday, Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu said he wanted to form another pro-European government.
Tensions within the pro-European ruling coalition have grown since the Oct. 15 arrest of Vlad Filat, the prime minister from 2009 to 2013, over a massive bank fraud. Filat was arrested on charges of taking bribes of $260 million, allegedly linked to a fraud in which up to $1.5 billion went missing from three Moldovan banks ahead of the November 2014 parliamentary election.
Moldova, a country of 4 million located between Romania and Ukraine, is one of Europe’s poorest countries, with an average monthly salary of 215 euros ($240). The country has been engulfed by political instability since the money went missing. In recent weeks, thousands have staged anti-government street protests, demanding a probe into the missing money.
Strelet, the third prime minister this year, accused the Democratic Party of betraying the government by voting to dismiss him, along with the opposition Communist Party and the Socialists Party. He had refused to resign for defending Filat.
Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union in 2014, despite Russian opposition. Russia then placed a boycott on Moldovan fruit, vegetables and wine, hurting its economy.
Parliament on Thursday ratified a five-year 150 million-euro ($165 million) loan from Romania.
Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.
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