Moldova's police chief has dismissed six officers who publicly backed a rival government, reflecting a continuing power struggle that has heightened political tensions in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation.

Alexandru Panzari fired the officers on Wednesday after they expressed support for the new coalition government of Prime Minister Maia Sandu. Panzari is loyal to the previous leadership, which refuses to cede power.

Sandu's government was formed last weekend after months of political deadlock that followed an inconclusive election in February. But the former ruling Democratic Party, controlled by powerful oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, has refused to concede defeat. It has been backed by Moldova's Constitutional Court.

Sandu has warned that anyone obstructing the new government will face legal action.