Nicolae Timofti is the current President of Moldova. His controversial election in March of 2012 ended Moldova’s nearly four-year constitutional crisis.
Timofti was born in 1948 in the small northern village of Ciutulesti. He graduated with a law degree from Moldova (Chisinau) State University in 1972. Before his election, he spent his entire career—more than 35 years—in Moldova’s judicial system.
Timofti’s election was possible only after three rounds of parliamentary elections pushed The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) into the minority. Although the PCRM stated that they would boycott elections for any candidate the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) nominated, and act which would push the country into a fourth round of parliamentary elections, three members of the Communist party stated that they would defect and vote for a non-affiliated candidate, if one were nominated, in the interests of resolving the crisis.
When the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) nominated Timofti, a candidate with no political affiliations or experience, these three Communist deputies: Igor Dodon, former Minister of Trade and Economics under the communist government, and Zinaida Greceanâi, former Prime Minister and former nominated (but unelected) Communist candidate, along with parliamentary deputy Veronica Abramciuc, defected to the Socialist Party of Moldova and secured Timofti’s election.
While this was lauded as a victory for Moldova’s reformers, critics argue that during his tenure as Chairman of the Supreme Council of Magistrates, a body charged with appointing judges and taking disciplinary action against judges when needed, Timofti did little to reform Moldova’s notoriously corrupt judicial system.
As President, Timofti has almost no political mandate and little political capital with which to work. Furthermore, the AEI coalition that engineered his election, while able to effectively unite against the Communists, is an otherwise diverse and fractured coalition. Timofti stresses Moldova’s continued desire to integrate with the European Union, thereby aligning himself with AEI’s central plank. However, with parliament still immobilized by party gridlock and with the largely state-based economy deprived of consistent leadership, there is little President Timofti can do to advance the goal of European integration or even to pursue the economic and political development of Moldova itself.
Moldova’s constitution allots the President significant oversight of foreign policy and national defense, and affords powers of decrees, nominations, and consultation. Yet much of this is checked by parliamentary mechanisms. Thus, with a fragile and often fractured ruling coalition, Timofti’s election has failed to spur Moldova’s government to a significantly greater action; while the constitutional crisis has been solved, a political crisis continues.
The parliamentary elections set for late 2014 could break the impasse and furnish Timofti with a more pliable legislative composition. Alternatively, a victory for the Communist Party could portend Timofti’s removal since the Communists boycotted his election—as they have boycotted all legislative action taken by the ruling coalition of parties.
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