Moldovan president Mircea Snegur "dismissed" defense minister Lt. General Pavel Creanga and "appointed" a new acting minister by decree March 15 in a prima facie violation of the constitution, which gives those powers to the prime minister and the parliament. Creanga refused earlier this month to pledge military support to Snegur’s bid for re-election against his better-placed political rivals. Snegur, without substantiating accusations against Creanga in the parliament of having shielded corruption in the Defense Ministry, then privately asked him March 5 to resign in exchange for Moldova’s highest state award, the Order of Stephen the Great. Creanga resisted the politicization of the high command and March 5 said he would resign only if asked to do so by the prime minister, as the constitution requires. Snegur then issued his decree dismissing Creanga and appointing deputy defense minister Lt. General Tudor Dabija, a personal follower, acting minister. A pro-Dabija military police unit and top presidential security officials sequestered Creanga in his ministry office, cut his communications, and installed the new acting minister.
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