Parliament Activity Review June 10-14, 2002
June 17, 2002
During the time period covered by this commentary, the opposition parties boycotted the vote on several important pieces of legislation. At the same time they were extremely active during the session reserved for Q&A. During the latter they made several accusations to the governing party, which were later on circulated in the newspapers controlled by them. Noteworthy, to the usual accusations of illicit business, opposition added some criticism related to economy and foreign trade. And all these on the eve of a very important event for the governing party - namely the scientific conference "Communist Party - a year of governing". This way opposition showed that it closely monitors the governing party and once again highlighted the problems society is facing. It remains to be seen what would be the reaction of the Communist party, especially of the President.
The Conference was organized on June 15, immediately after the changes in the presidential administration. The establishment of a new position, i.e. councilor on domestic affairs has been largely debated in mass media. Some experts claim the changes are due to the fact that a clan of the governing party secured a greater influence on the party leader. Given the idea launched by "Communist" newspaper to amend the party program, one may expect tumultuous developments.
As for the legislative activity, the majority faction passed and amended a series of draft laws and also finalized several acts necessary for the enforcement of the previously passed laws.
Acts adopted in the final reading
I. Law on the enforcement of the Civil Code
ADEPT Comment: The new Code was promulgated by the President on June 11, 2002 and was to be published in the Official Monitor. Though, the Code could not be published or enter in force without a special law on its enforcement. The law adopted by the Parliaments provides that the Civil Code shall be enforced on January 1, 2003. Until then recommendations are to be submitted on adjusting other laws to the Civil Code provisions. Further, commencing January 1, 2003 legislative acts shall be applied provided they are in line with the Code provisions.
When the Civil Code is published, we shall come up with a more comprehensive analysis of its provision, including a comparative analysis with the current Code.
II. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Constitutional Court
ADEPT Comment: The law sets the procedures for the enforcement of the Constitutional Court rulings. Specifically it provides that Constitutional Court rulings are official acts for binding execution of all subjects of law.
Further under the law, within three months of the day the Constitutional Court ruling is published, the Government shall submit to Parliament the draft law on the modification, completion or abrogation of the unconstitutional law. The Parliament shall examine those drafts on a priority basis.
New provisions have been added obliging the Government and President of the country to abrogate the unconstitutional acts, and if necessary to draft new ones.
The law also establishes that the laws passed in view of enforcing unconstitutional acts shall be considered null as well. Unfortunately, the law does not specify how should the consequences of the unconstitutional laws be eliminated. Thus the problem remains still unresolved.
The draft law was developed by the Constitutional Court. This explains the provisions on binding execution of the Court rulings, as well as specific liability for the failure, improper, or obstruction to enforcement of the Constitutional Court rulings. The provision has still to be worked on, as the law does not provide sanctions for the failure to enforce Constitutional Court rulings.
III. Law on the modification and completion of the Law on Education
ADEPT Comment: The law entitles Ministry of Education to establish and administer an extra-budgetary fund for education support. The fund shall be formed from payments to be made by professional schools - 0.5% from the funds accrued from the professional activity of the students; as well as by universities and institutes (regardless of the form of property) - 0.5% from the funds accrued from contracts.
Under the law, the Government shall decide on how the extra-budget fund shall be formed and administered, whereas its amount shall be set in the Law on State Budget.
Certainly private institutions will protest against such a law, as under the law the Ministry of Education would tax them.
It is worth mentioning that under one of the provisions, the branches of the foreign institutions should operate based on license and within the state institutions.
IV. Law on the modification and completion of the Law on Telecommunication
ADEPT Comment: The law deals with the most controversial aspect of telecommunication - IP telephony. Initially it was suggested to liberalize this market, though in its final decision the Parliament refused to deprive Moldtelecom from its monopoly on the service, on the grounds that 51% of the company shares are put on the market this year.
The Parliament decision is interesting from another perspective. The liberalization of the IP market was set forth by the foreign donors as one of the conditions for resuming the aid to Moldova. And so far, the Parliament reacted promptly and adopted such kinds of laws required by the financial aid organizations.
V. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Fighting Terrorism
ADEPT Comment: Under the law, investigation bodies are entitled to ask financial institutions to block the bank accounts of the persons involved in terrorism actions or facilitating such actions.
VI. Resolution on the results of the control over the enforcement of the Law on Tobacco and Tobacco products
ADEPT Comment: According to the Resolution, the Government activity in this field is deemed as dissatisfactory. The Government shall: adopt a strategy aimed to boost tobacco industry in years 2003-2010; based on the recommendations of businessmen active in the field develop proposals on perfecting the legal framework; support and stimulate tobacco production; and develop and enforce a single information system able to rapidly analyze the date on tobacco production, import, export and sale. Further, the relevant Ministry and entitled legal bodies shall take measures to stop tobacco smuggling and its illicit trade.
VII. The Parliament passed a Resolution designating three members of the Certification Commission of the Ministry of Justice, two of which are deputies in Parliament A.Smochin and Gh.Popa, and I.Moroz Deputy Financial Director of the Speranta-Unic Factory.
Legislative acts adopted in the first reading (not final)
I. Law on the structure and functioning of the Ministry of Justice
ADEPT Comment: The draft establishes the spheres of competence of the Ministry of Justice as well as its rights, obligations, competencies, etc. The draft further regulates the statute of the Ministry, its structure, and personnel. A separate chapter regulates the competencies and functions of the Ministry, as follows:
- Participation in the elaboration and enforcement of the national strategy on the country development;
- Drafting legislation, expertise and registration of the normative acts;
- Ensuring organizationally and financially Courts' activity and that of the Court executors;
- Exercising functions related to information system, notary, and bar;
- Defending the rights of children, refugees, etc.
The draft includes provisions pertaining to the Ministry leadership such as the competence of the Minister, Ministry College, and Deputy Ministers.
The draft was largely debated on in Parliament and both the opposition and majority faction opposed the adoption of the draft. After some additional consultations, it was decided to pass the draft in the first reading, and come back to it after the draft laws on notary and bar are examined.
II. Law on modification and completion of the Penal Code and Code on Administrative Offence
ADEPT Comment: The draft toughens the sanctions for the evasion from the payment of alimony, for the failure to enforce the Court ruling and for the evasion from the payment of damages incurred by committed offence.
III. Law on modification and completion of several legal acts
ADEPT Comment: The draft includes amendments to the laws on advertising. Under the draft, the Penal Code and the Code on Administrative Offence shall be completed with an article - Violation of the laws on advertising. The broadcast and production of inappropriate advertisements, which damage the public interest or violate citizen's rights and interests, shall be sanctioned. Further, the following actions shall be deemed violations: dishonest, fake, immoral or disguised advertisement; posting advertisement boards by destroying or damaging trees in protected areas; advertising treatment for incurable diseases, or mass treatment sessions based on psychic influence, etc.
IV. Law on modification and completion of legislative acts in line with the Center for Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption
ADEPT Comment: The draft modifies a series of legal acts so that the Center could launch its activities. The competencies of the Center are provided in the Fiscal Code, Penal Code, Code on Administrative Offence, Law on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises, Law on Bar Association, and Law on Contentious Business.