October 22, 2015 / 1:56 PM / 3 years ago

Moldova parliament to hold no-confidence vote against government

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova’s parliament will vote on a no-confidence motion against the coalition government after opposition leaders submitted a request to parliament on Thursday after weeks of public protest over a $1 billion banking fraud.

People chant slogans as they stand in front of the tents set by protesters after an anti-government rally, organised by the civic platform "Dignity and Truth" (DA) last Sunday, in central Chisinau, Moldova, September 7, 2015. REUTERS/Viktor Dimitrov

Thousands of Moldovans have camped out in central Chisinau since early September, protesting against government corruption and demanding those in power be held accountable for the fraud in which the equivalent of one eighth of gross domestic product vanished overseas.

The vote will take place next Thursday, Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon told Reuters, in three parliamentary working days’ time.

The pro-European coalition has so far rejected calls to quit, fuelling demands for the vote of no confidence from the opposition, mainly made up of socialists and communists who favor close economic ties with Russia rather than with the European Union.

The fraud has tarnished the image of the pro-Europe ruling class for ordinary Moldovans, many of whom struggle by on a baseline family income of around $300 a month. And it has shaken the confidence of Western allies and international lenders which help keep Moldova’s economy afloat.

Protesters have called for virtually all the pro-EU leadership to be held to account, as well as leaders of the pro-Russian opposition.

Former prime minister Vlad Filat was detained last week and is being held for questioning in connection with the banking scandal.

Filat, who denies any connection to the crime, heads the pro-European Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova (LDPM) and served as prime minister from 2009 to 2013.

Insiders have said the fraud - which had been going on for years until it hit a peak in 2014 - reflects deep-seated corruption in Moldova and involved some degree of complicity from many of those in power.

Reporting by Alexander Tanas; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Alison Williams

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