President Mircea Snegur has asked the government in writing to dismiss the editors in chief of the country’s two main newspapers, Moldova suverana and Nezavisimaya Moldova. The president’s move follows the two newspapers’ recent publication of an open letter by the country’s literary patriarch, novelist Ion Druta, criticizing Snegur’s attempts to introduce a presidential regime and asking him not to seek re-election next year. Snegur has since attacked the two dailies publicly for printing the letter without his authorization. In reporting Snegur’s dismissal order, Nezavisimaya Moldova quotes Snegur’s interview granted that same day to Western media in which the president says that any citizen is free to criticize him without fear of retribution. (15) The two newspapers are owned by the government and supervised by the parliament. Snegur’s entourage seeks to dismiss the former and dissolve the latter in the effort to maximize the president’s powers and ensure his re-election. Prior to Snegur’s campaign for personal power, Moldova received high marks from the West for its political democratization.
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