Moldova's prime minister quits over 'fake diploma' scandal

Agence France-Presse
Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici only lasted four months in office.

Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici announced his resignation on Friday, just four months into the job, after being accused of faking his education credentials.

"I have decided to announce my resignation. I can't stay in this position any longer," Gaburici said in a statement posted on the government's website.

"I am not a politician, I am a manager. I don't want to to take part in political games," the 38-year-old premier added.

Gaburici, who was questioned by prosecutors on Thursday over allegations he faked his high school diploma, said he hoped his stepping down would take the political focus off him and help ensure stability.

"I don't want the question of my education to become a topic of national importance," he said.

Gaburici took office on February 18 after his Liberal Democratic Party parties managed to form a coalition with other pro-European parties after November elections.

Before that he worked at telecommunications companies Moldcell and Azercell.

Moldova, a former Soviet state of 3.5 million people that lies between Ukraine and Romania, is one of Europe's poorest countries.

Last year, the government signed a historic EU association agreement despite pressure from its former Soviet master Moscow.

Moscow slapped the largely agricultural country with a ban on its fruit imports in apparent retaliation for its shift towards the West.

Russia maintains thousands of troops in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestr, and has for years provided money to prop up the impoverished region of 500,000 people, which is home to some 180,000 Russian nationals.

Local elections are set to be held on June 14, after which a new parliamentary coalition is likely to be formed.

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