Moldova's parliament has voted against the pro-EU government of Prime Minister Vlad Filat in a no-confidence vote. Several top members of the defeated administration are now under investigation.
Fifty-four lawmakers voted on Tuesday to remove the government of reformist Liberal Democrat Prime Minister Vlad Filat after his coalition, the Alliance for European Integration, broke apart over a battle to control the small, ex-Soviet republic's justice system.
Vladimir Voronin, the leader of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova and the country's former president, led the charge against the ruling coalition in parliament.
"There is not a single logical argument for saving an alliance that stands for European integration," Voronin told fellow lawmakers ahead of the vote. "This government is responsible for impoverishing the people."
The Communists had run the country from 1998 until Filat's Alliance for European Integration - comprising Liberals, Liberal Democrats and Democrats - took over the running of the non-EU country in 2009.
Scandal after scandal
Investigators are looking into Finance Minister Veaceslav Negruta over the payment of 400,000 euros ($524,000) to a businessman after a court ruling. Culture Minister Boris Focsa is being investigated for the allegedly illegal privatization of a historic building in the nation's capital, Chisinau. Health Minister Andrei Usatii is under investigation for allegedly using a hospital as collateral for a bank loan.
If found guilty, all could face several years in jail.
In another scandal, the businessman Sorin Paciu was accidentally shot dead on a hunting trip with top justice officials. Prosecutor General Valeriu Zubco resigned after it came out that he had initially tried to cover up the accidental killing.
mkg/ipj (AFP, AP)