AFP: Top oligarch leaves Moldova after party cedes power15 June 2019 | 16:02 | FOCUS News Agency
An alliance of pro-Russian and pro-European lawmakers this week forced the party headed by Vlad Plahotniuc to step aside after a long-running political crisis in the former Soviet republic.
"Regarding speculation in the media about the so-called disappearance of the head of the Democratic Party... Plahotniuc has left the country for a few days to be with his family," the party's press service said in a statement.
Maia Sandu, the head of the coalition government, said Saturday Plahotniuc would be "answerable before the law" and accused him of various crimes including usurping power.
The pro-Russian Socialist Party and pro-European ACUM agreed last weekend to work together in government, despite different views in many areas, to end the oligarch's influence.
Lawmakers from the coalition -- which was backed in the power stand-off by the EU, US and Russia -- said Moldova was "wallowing in corruption" and "captive" to oligarchs.
One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova was part of Romania before it became a Soviet republic and later independent. It contains a Russian-backed breakaway region called Transnistria.
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