The government of Moldova was brought down in a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, with 63 out of 101 lawmakers voting against Prime Minister Maia Sandu.
The vote came after relations between Sandu's center-right Party of Action and Solidarity (ACUM) group and the Socialists deteriorated.
The coalition had tussled over who should have the power to nominate a prosecutor general. Sandu had presented her plan to take control of the nomination process as a key step in her efforts to tackle corruption. The Socialists said a special commission under the justice ministry should decide instead.
Sandu — in power for the past five months — said the move was essential for the country to claw back the $1billion (€900 million) that was stolen from three banks in a hit that was known locally as the "theft of the century."
The scam saw money — the equivalent of an eighth of the country's gross domestic product —siphoned off.
"We want efficient prosecutors and judges who make decisions in the name of the law," Sandu said in a Facebook post ahead of the vote. "We want those who stole the billion to go to jail. It's simple. This is what the whole society wants."
Reflecting a divide within Moldovan society, Sandu's ACUM bloc wants the country to join the EU while the Socialist party advocates closer ties to Moscow.
rc/rt (Reuters, AP)