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Moldova's Liberals quit ruling coalition after mayor arrest

Associated Press logo Associated Press 29/05/2017

BUCHAREST, Romania — Moldova's pro-European Liberal Party quit the ruling coalition Monday following the arrest of Chisinau's mayor, but it looks like the government can keep its majority.

The Liberal Party withdrew its three ministers, a deputy premier and politically-appointed managers of government agencies from the three-party coalition that was formed after the November 2014 parliamentary election.

The development came after Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca was put under house arrest Friday on suspicion of influence trafficking in a city parking contract.

He hasn't commented, but Liberal chairman Mihai Ghimpu called the arrest a political move, saying there was insufficient proof to detain him.

The main ruling Democratic Party claims a majority in the 101-seat legislature after a group of 10 lawmakers recently set up a pro-government group in Parliament.

The anti-corruption center said the company won contracts because of "concerted actions" from city hall officials. Chirtoaca suspended the contract with the company this month and the company has not commented.

The 38-year-old mayor is also deputy chairman of the Liberals and has been mayor since 2007. He is in favor of the former Soviet republic's reunification with neighboring Romania, something the government doesn't support.

Chirtoaca has recently taken a stand against government plans to modify the electoral system.

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