CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova's Constitutional Court says that the country's president can be temporarily suspended from his duties after he refused to swear in the defense minister.

The court ruled Tuesday that President Igor Dodon could be stripped of his duties for "deliberately refusing... to exercise a part of his constitutional attributes."

Dodon called the ruling "a grave violation" of the court's powers and threatened street protests.

Pro-European Prime Minister Pavel Filip proposed Eugen Sturza as defense minister twice in September, but Dodon, who wants closer relations with Russia, refused to appoint him. The president said he wouldn't endorse Sturza because he wasn't a professional military officer.

Moldova hasn't had a defense minister since December 2016 when the incumbent resigned amid political infighting.