Parliament Activity Review June 17-21, 2002
June 26, 2002
Last week was characterized by an offensive in mass media; especially the one controlled by the opposition parties, against the governing party, the latter being accused of protectionism. The offensive has resumed this week, but this time the target being Prime-Minister Vasile Tarlev. The incumbent leadership of "Bucuria" Ltd released an open letter, reading that since the former Director (incumbent Prime-Minister) left, the company has registered a growth, paid back all the arrears to the state budget and decreased the price on its products. Nevertheless it faces bankruptcy due to the illegal business conducted by the former director. We would like to point out that Moldavskie Vedomosti featured the same issue several months ago, although it was rapidly hushed or forgotten. This time, when it is the "working personnel" which has appealed, the power would have to react, at least in a formal manner.
Interestingly enough, the campaign against Vasile Tarlev has resumed shortly after the President Voronin reorganized its apparatus and appointed Mark Tcaciuk (one of the shadow ideologist of the party) as councilor on domestic issues. Marc Tcaciuk is known for his criticism against the policy of the incumbent Government, especially of Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev (recently the same newspaper Moldavschie Vedomosti republished several of its last year articles, whose author is claimed to be the same Tcaciuc).
It is possible that the denigration campaign against Tarlev has been launched to distract the public attention from the accusations of protectionism brought to President Voronin, who is the last person to exculpate himself, and also to tolerate debates on issues repugnant to him. And last but not least, the speculation that Vasile Tarlev would hold his position as Prime Minister until financial aid is resumed and that Government may resign in fall - may come true after all.
Those political battles somehow overshadowed the Parliament, although it worked hard during the reported period, its motto being all legal acts for the Council of Europe expertise. Noteworthy, on June 17-18 a Council of Europe mission visited Chisinau to discuss the assistance project for Moldova in view of implementing the Resolutions and recommendations made by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, one of which being expertise of legislative acts to be adopted by the Parliament. During the parliament session, deputies of the "Braghis Alliance" faction tried to exclude some of the drafts from the agenda on the grounds that they need Council of Europe expertise.
The majority faction reacted in a very harsh manner blaming Braghis Alliance faction for lack of patriotism and inappropriate formalism. It is worth mentioning the Christian-Democrats position. Although they were the ones to insist on Council of Europe political monitoring over the Republic of Moldova, fact that entitles them to request expertise and monitoring, they declined to do so. They had no objections to the draft law on the grounds that "it broadens the rights of opposition, consequently it could be submitted for the CE expertise after its adoption".
The great majority of the legislative acts on Parliament agenda have been examined and adopted by the parliament majority faction occasionally joined by the Christian-Democrats whenever they considered it appropriate.
Legislative acts adopted in the final reading
I. Law on the modification and completion of legislative acts related to the deputy status
ADEPT comment: The law was passed in the first reading at the time the conflict between the governing and opposition reached the stage of negotiations at the Council of Europe. Back then the President of the country submitted to Parliament a draft law:
- Excluding from the Law on Deputy Status provisions allowing to lift the deputy mandate for absence at the plenary sessions, anti-Constitutional acts, etc.
- Granting the right to lift the deputy mandate to the Constitutional Court;
- Excluding from Parliament Regulation provisions allowing Parliament to withdraw the accreditation of media outlets circulating inexact or misinterpreting issues debated in Parliament;
- Adding to Parliament Regulation provision related to Government hearings (once per session), as well other hearings on issues of national importance, etc.
II. Law on the Penal Code enforcement
ADEPT comment: The law provides:
- The Penal Code shall enter into force on October 1, 2002 simultaneously the Penal Code passed in 1961 shall be abrogated.
- General Prosecutor shall start an action for cancellation of the previously set sentences so as to apply a more compassionate penal law.
- Ceasing law suits for the deeds no longer considered offence under the new Penal Code.
- Sanctions in the form of voluntary community work and arrest shall be enforced once appropriate conditions for this are established, but no later than 1 year after the enforcement of the new Penal Code.
- Releasing from serving punishment the persons, who had been ousted, publicly censured, deprived of parental rights.
- Rehabilitation of persons previously convicted for deeds no longer considered offence under the new Penal Code.
III. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Fighting Money Laundering
ADEPT comment: The law introduces a series of modifications and completions on:
- Rights and obligations of financial institutions in law enforcement.
- A new definition of the "limited or suspicious financial operations".
- Exempting financial institutions and their employees from the liability for material and moral damages incurred to some legal and natural entities while enforcing the law.
The law has been amended as a series of flaws surfaced upon its enforcement pointed both by international financial institutions and financial institutions obliged to execute them.
IV. Law on ratification of the Cooperative Agreement on establishing a single education space in the CIS
ADEPT comment: The agreement was signed in 1997 in view of establishing a single educational space in the CIS, by establishing a mechanism of coordinating educational processes, professional training and evaluation, implementing joint projects, ensuring free access to didactical and scientific information, developing a legal framework favoring educational cooperation, establishing the requirements and mechanism of mutual validation of diplomas, degrees, etc.
The opposition objected the ratification of the Agreement, nevertheless their arguments didn't persuade the majority faction.
V. Draft law on ratification of the Agreement on exchange of information related to education between the CIS states
ADEPT comment: The Agreement was signed in 2001 in Minsk and provides for a permanent exchange of information related to education, and professional training and appraisal.
VI. Law on modification and completion of legislative acts related to the enforcement of Court rulings
ADEPT comment: The law completes and modifies legislative acts regulating the activity of the bodies entitled to enforce Court rulings - units of the Department of Court Rulings Enforcement of the Ministry of Justice.
VII. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Local Public Administration
ADEPT comment: Under the law, deputy prefects positions may be established. It is expected that the Government would appoint deputy prefects in all the districts to be established in 2003.
The opposition accused the majority faction that the modifications are made in view of upcoming elections and that they are groundless as the prefectures are due to be dissolved. Another argument brought up by the opposition was that the personnel costs would increase, to which the Communists replied that the latter would be compensated by the reduction of personnel.
VIII. Law on modification of the Law on Production and Sale of Ethyl Alcohol and Alcohol Products
ADEPT comment: Under the law, the licenses issued before the adoption of the Law on Licensing shall be valid until the expiration of the initially set term.
IX. Law on modification and completion of legislative acts related to the Center on Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption
ADEPT comment: The law was passed in the first reading on June 13. It provides for the modification and completion of the legal acts in view of ensuring well-functioning of the Center on Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption (see commentary of June 10-14, 2002).
X. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Government
ADEPT comment: The law provides a new definition of the Ministries, namely bodies of the central government.
One of the most controversial provisions was the one allowing Government to establish additional public administration bodies in view of implementing its work plan, foreign and domestic policy. Opposition, as well as representatives of majority faction claimed that this is an exclusive competence of the Parliament.
Legislative acts adopted in the first reading (not final)
I. Draft law on Ratification of the Agreement on exchange of information related to education between the CIS countries
ADEPT comment: The agreement was signed in 2001 in Minsk and provides for continuous exchange of information in the field of education, personnel training and appraisal.
II. Draft law on modification and completion of the Law on Land Price
ADEPT comment: Under the law, the term allotted to enterprises for privatizing the adherent territories has been extended. Further, those territories could be purchased for a lower price than that established by law.
The Government explained such a modification by the need to support entrepreneurs, otherwise the latter would have to spend enormous amounts of money for rent or privatization, money they might not have or even if they did, this might considerably damage the economic interests.
III. Draft law on modification and completion of legislative acts regulating education
ADEPT comment: The law provides:
- Changing Ministry of Science and Education into Ministry of Education.
- Establishing the competencies of the Ministry as a central specialized body in the field of education, appraisal and accreditation.
- Dissolving the National Council of Academic Accreditation and transferring its competencies to the Ministry of Education.
Representatives of parliamentary opposition objected the adoption of the draft law. In response members of the majority faction and authors of the modification explained that the current procedure is very expensive and that Accreditation Council does not include experts in the field, which won't be the case of the Ministry.