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The first Parliament siting in the fall-winter session
September 30, 2002

On September 26, the fall-winter session of the Parliament commenced. As usual, Parliament Chairperson inaugurated the session. Noteworthy, after Presidents' call to intensify efforts of European integration the Parliament Chair also made reference in her inauguration speech to the need of establishing favorable conditions for Republic of Moldova integration in the European Union. Leaders of the ruling party believe this could be achieved only together with the neighborhood countries, and of course Russia.

Legal acts adopted in the final reading

I) Law on modifying the Law on Penal Code enforcement.

ADEPT comment: The Parliament examined the said law first as on October 1 the new Penal Code should have entered into force, however conditions for its enforcement were not established due to a short 2 weeks period between its publication and enforcement.

Under the amendments, the new Penal Code shall be enforced on January 1, 2003, by then, all court ruling on sanctions based on the provisions no longer posing a threat shall be revised. Within six months of the Code enforcement, there shall be submitted actions for cancellation of the rulings on the grounds of articles to be excluded from the Penal Code.

Noteworthy, the Council of Europe would be able to present its opinion on the compliance of the new Code with the European Convention on Human Rights before its enforcement. And this because the adoption of the Penal Code was one of the engagements Republic of Moldova undertook upon joining Council of Europe and ratifying the Convention.

II) Law on the modification and completion of the Law on State Decoration.

ADEPT comment: The President was the initiator of two amendments:

1. Inaugurating a new state decoration - Order of Honor, which would be granted for consolidating the statehood, for promoting reforms and democratic transformations; for activity in the state bodies; for merits in promoting and developing friendship relations between Republic of Moldova and other states; for furthering Republic of Moldova integration in the international structures; for peacekeeping, charity and sponsorship activity, etc.

Comment: Some experts claim the decoration was inaugurated so as the President could grant it to the high rank officials due to visit soon the Republic of Moldova (Vladimir Putin, Walter Schwimer, Ghenadie Selezniov, etc).

2. Granting the decoration both to legal and natural entities, military units, and allowing them to use the decoration in their title.

Comment: Such a decoration practice used to exist in the Soviet Union that is why opposition accused the ruling party of an attempt to restore old-time practices.

III) Law on modifying the Law on the Constitutional Court.

ADEPT comment: Under the law, persons no older than 70 years may be appointed as Constitutional Court judges, previously the age limit was 65. Although the grounds provided for operating the modification was to allow competent persons to exercise their duties for a longer term, opposition press claim the real reason for modification was to suit a certain person, namely former judge Nicolae Chiseev (he is of gagauz ethnic origin), who is very close to the incumbent President. An argument in favor of the later are the upcoming elections in Gagauz Yeri and appointing a judge of Gagauz origin to the Constitutional Court is a clear sign that authorities intend to grant privileges to the Gagauz people.

Another reason for appointing Mr. Chiseev is the upcoming Constitutional Court hearing on the draft law on Constitution modification in view of enlarging autonomy's rights.

IV) Law on modifying the Law on Investigation Activity.

ADEPT comment: The modifications grant the Center for Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption to conduct investigations. The Center was established at the initiative of the President, who during a recent meeting with its members pointed that he invested great hopes in the newly established structure and that it should not only fight crime but also "ensure necessary protection to loyal entrepreneurs".

V) Law on visa regime in the timer period October 10-20, 2002.

ADEPT comment: Given the fact that a national holiday - Wine Festival - is hosted for the first time in the Republic of Moldova the Parliament adopted a law to grant free of charge visas to all the foreign citizens arriving in Moldova during the said time period. Thus, authorities intend to attract as many visitors as possible, especially as October 14 is the Day of the Chisinau City.

VI) Law on modifying the Penal Code and Code of Penal Procedure.

ADEPT comment: The law introduces new sanctions for money laundering. The modifications bring the law in accordance to the recent modifications operated to the Law on Fighting Money Laundering.

VII) Resolution on appointed the National Bank of Moldova Governor.

ADEPT comment: On September 28, 2002 the mandated of the National Bank Governor appointed in 1995 expired. The Parliament appointed Leonid Talmaci for another 7 years so as not to leave the position vacant. Mr. Talmaci is claimed to be the "most stable" politician in the history of the Republic of Moldova (10 years).

He was appointed at the recommendation of the Parliament Chair in line with the Law on the National Bank of Moldova.

VIII) Resolution on ousting Ombudsmen Constantin Lazari.

ADEPT comment: There were a lot of discussions about ousting the Ombudsmen, mainly because of his harsh criticism of the ruling party. In early 2002 there was an attempt to oust 2 Ombudsmen, however due to the efforts of opposition and international for the Parliament suspended the procedures it initiated.

Although being closely watched by the authorities the Ombudsmen left his workplace for a three months internship in Switzerland, failing to notify both the Center for Human Rights and Parliament specialized Commission. Thus the Ombudsmen wasn't fired for political reasons but rather for the lack of discipline and violation of the labor legislation, and violation of petitioners rights (for three months the latter had no possibility to address to Ombudsmen). The Ombudsmen's mandate would have expired in 2003.

Legislative acts passed in the first reading (not final)

One of the most import draft laws adopted in the first reading is the Law on Philanthropy and Sponsorship, which was early on published for public debates in mass media. Very few public associations expressed their point of view, except for ADEPT and some others, so the Parliament proceeded to examining the draft law.

Besides the said draft, the Parliament also voted in the first reading the draft law excluding a construction company and a commercial unit from privatization.






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