Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 71

Moldovan defense minister Lt. General Pavel Creanga was able yesterday to symbolically reenter the Defense Ministry under a decree by President Mircea Snegur which reinstated Creanga but deprived him of most powers. By his "Order No. 4" as "direct commander" of the armed forces, Snegur personally assumed the defense minister’s key functions, including that of promoting and demoting officers. Snegur also confirmed his confederate, Maj. General Tudor Dabija, as deputy defense minister. Inside the Defense Ministry, Snegur called and addressed an assembly of officers, saying that Creanga had to be formally reinstated because of the Constitutional Court verdict, but only briefly, until a new minister was appointed. Officers preselected by presidential advisors spoke to proclaim loyalty to the president as commander in chief.

Simultaneously in a letter to the governmental and parliamentary leadership, Snegur again demanded the immediate dismissal of Creanga for insubordination to the president and for having condoned alleged corruption. Snegur demanded the appointment of a protege, Army Chief of Staff Colonel Pavel Chirau, as defense minister. Snegur warned that he could guarantee stability in the Army only if Chirau was appointed "urgently." (Flux, Basapress, April 10)

Both moves are unconstitutional: the president may assume "direct command" of the armed forces only in wartime or declared national emergencies with parliamentary consent. Also, the president does not have the right to demand the appointment or dismissal of ministers, only to approve or overrule the prime minister’s proposals. Senior officials told The Monitor today that Snegur last night demanded that parliamentary leaders schedule parliamentary elections this year, two years before the due date, in parallel with the presidential election scheduled for the fall.