Ex-Chairman, European People’s Party of Moldova
Former Prime Minister
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
Former First Deputy Chairman, Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova
Former Prime Minister Iurie Leancă is the son of a Romanian father and Bulgarian mother. He was born in 1963 in the southern town of Cimislia. Until recently, Leancă was a career diplomat.
He graduated in 1986 from Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO), renowned as college for future diplomats and foreign service workers. From 1986 to 1993, Leancă worked in Soviet/Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as the Minister-Councilor in the Moldovan Embassy to the United States from 1993 to 1997. Thereafter, he worked in several capacities for Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In late 2001, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia, which had brought a suit alleging that the Moldovan government had refused to recognize the church and thus was infringing on its right to operate and own property. Leancă was accused by lawmakers of not properly preparing the defense for the case and was forced to resign in early 2002.
After seven years of work independently and in the private sector as a consultant, Leancă ran for parliament as part of the PLDM. He was elected and joined Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. In that role, Leancă spearheaded the “Rethink Moldova” initiative, aimed at supplanting the country’s image abroad as a poor, backwards post-Soviet republic with a new image as a developing, modernizing country committed to European ideals and integration into the EU. That effort garnered significant support from the West, including monetary aid from the EU, US, IMF, and World Bank.
Following a political scandal in late 2012—known colloquially as “Huntingate” —that eventually resulted in a vote of censure against then-Prime Minister Vlad Filat, President Timofti appointed Iurie Leancă acting Prime Minister. He was subsequently confirmed to the post by a parliamentary vote of confidence, supported by the new “Pro-European Coalition”—consisting of the PLDM, Democratic Party, and the Liberal Reformist Party. Like the rest of the government, however, parliamentary deadlock has significantly reduced Leancă’s ability to conduct governmental business.
On February 26, 2015 Leanca left PLDM to form a new political party. He grew increasingly disappointed with PLDM leader Filat who chose to ally himself with the Communists instead of the Liberals, but mainly because Filat marginalized Leanca and denied him the prime minister position on February 18 when Chiril Gaburici was voted to the helm of a new cabinet, replacing Leanca. Iurie Leanca’s European People’s Party of Moldova was officially registered on August 14, 2015.