Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 21

The new Moldovan government began working today after having been approved by parliament and taken the oath before the new president, Petru Lucinschi. (Basapress, Flux, January 27-28) The parliamentary majority left Lucinschi no option but to retain about half of the ministers of Andrei Sangheli’s Agrarian-dominated government. Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc, 54, an agricultural economist, is an experienced non-party bureaucrat who in the last 10 years has served successively as deputy and/or first deputy agriculture minister, economics minister, foreign minister, as well as ambassador to Russia. Most recently, he served as head of the Chamber of Accounts, where he distinguished himself as an energetic tax collector — a high priority of his government. Moldova’s foreign partners will find Foreign Minister Mihai Popov and Finance Minister Valeriu Chitan in the same posts. Chitan has earned the trust of international financial organizations for his stringent budgetary and fiscal policies.

Valeriu Passat, 39, is Moldova’s first civilian defense minister. Until now ambassador to Russia, the professional historian is the editor of an 800-page collection of documents on Soviet repression in Moldova in the 1940s and 1950s (Moscow 1994). The new state security minister, Tudor Botnaru, was hitherto ambassador in Brussels with a mandate to represent Moldova in contacts with the EU and NATO. One of a group of KGB officers to join the Moldovan national movement in 1990, Botnaru headed the Committee for State Security in sovereign Moldova’s first government under Mircea Druc, and was later head of training for Moldova’s State Security Ministry before the Brussels posting. The new Internal Affairs Minister, Mihai Plamadeala, is the government’s sole Communist, the result of a pre-election deal securing that party’s endorsement of Lucinschi in the runoff. The president made no political concessions for that endorsement.

The government’s programmatic statement names its top priorities as consolidating Moldova’s independent statehood and territorial integrity, continuing reforms in cooperation with international financial institutions, and paying due attention to the "social dimension" of economic reforms. It aims to halt Moldova’s decline in GDP this year after an 8 percent drop in 1996.

Kuchma Nixes Move by Crimean Parliament to Replace Government.