What Happened: Vlad Plahotniuc, the oligarch leader of Moldova's Democratic Party, reportedly left the country the day after the party's June 14 announcement that Prime Minister Pavel Filip would resign and that the party would withdraw from power, RFL/RL reported June 15. The moves cool the political crisis that had been simmering in the country for the past week.
Why it Matters: The concession by the Democrats, whose refusal to cede power had intensified the crisis, will test the fledgling agreement between the Socialist Party and the ACUM bloc to govern Moldova. Without the common obstacle of the Democrats' intransigence to unite them, those parties' broader disagreements over foreign policy, rule of law and other issues are likely to reemerge and grow.
Background/Context: Months of coalition talks in Moldova had produced an agreement between the pro-Russian Socialist party and the pro-European Union bloc ACUM, with the latter's leader, Maia Sandu, appointed as Moldova's new prime minister on June 8. However, the Democratic Party refused to accept this coalition agreement, and the Constitutional Court allowed Filip, a Democrat, to dissolve parliament and call for early elections in September. An escalation of the political crisis had been looming, as both the Democratic Party and the ruling coalition had planned protests over the weekend that could have turned violent.
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