Former Prime Minister
Former Chairman, Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova
Vlad Filat is a former Prime Minister and the current President of Moldova’s center-right Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM), which controls about a third of the Moldovan Parliament and the office of Prime Minister.
Vlad Filat was born on in 1969 in Lăpușna in northeastern Moldova. Following his discharge from the Soviet army in the summer of 1989, Filat began collegiate studies, eventually graduating with a law degree from the University of Iași (Romania) in 1994.
Filat entered politics in 1998, after working as an executive in a private trading firm for a few years. As part of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), he served in several departmental and ministerial roles, including director of the Privatization and State Property Administration Department. His critics accuse him of having profited considerably from corrupt privatization practices.
In the 2005 parliamentary elections, which were marked by significant gains for democratic and reform parties at the expense of Moldova’s ruling communist party, Filat won a seat as part of the opposition coalition, The Electoral Bloc for Democratic Moldova. He broke with his party in 2007 and established the center-right PLDM.
When the constitutional crisis began in 2009, Filat helped form the Alliance for European Integration—comprising Filat’s PLDM (the predominant faction), the Liberal Party, the PDM, and the Our Moldova Alliance party. The Alliance garnered just over 50 percent of the vote, and 53 of the 101 seats in parliament, enough to control the parliament, but not enough to end the crisis. Filat served as Prime Minister throughout the crisis and, in December, 2010, also briefly served as one of the succession of interim presidents that Moldova had from 2009 to 2012.
Filat’s tenure as Prime Minister was marked by a lack of meaningful legislative activity. The crisis precluded any such activity and the fractured Alliance had divided departmental and ministerial control among its diverse and often feuding parties in such a way that Filat was only able to serve as a sort of chief administrator to the governmental departments.
Filat was ousted as Prime Minister after several government ministers and businessmen took part in an illegal hunting party in 2012. A member of the party was shot and killed—whether it was an accident is not known. The participants conspired, unsuccessfully, to conceal the incident. “Huntgate,” as it came to be known, was strongly pursued by Filat’s adversaries (though no direct connection with the Prime Minister was ever presented) and eventually it swelled into a massive indictment against the government.
Communists and Democrats joined in a vote of censure in March 2013 that ousted Filat from the position Prime Minister on unsubstantiated allegations of corruption. Filat remained a member of parliament, and was succeeded as Prime Minister by then fellow party member Iurie Leancă. Filat was reelected to Parliament during November 2014, hoping to reclaim the Prime Minister’s office. Not only did his coalition partners preclude Filat from becoming the head of the executive, but on October 15, 2015 his arch rival Plahotniuc is widely believed to have orchestrated Filat’s arrest in connection with the billion dollar bank fraud.