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Parliament Activity Review October 28 - November 1, 2002
November 11, 2002
In the said period the Parliament proceeded to the examination of some very important draft laws, namely on the modification of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova. The said drafts took the center stage when Constitutional Court deliberated on them and expressed a series of objections, namely that if adopted the amendments would abridge fundamental human rights and freedoms and generally accepted principles. The Parliament also examined a series of frame laws to be enforced soon, which are of special importance both for public bodies as well as for cultural organizations.
Legal acts adopted in the final reading
I. Law on Philanthropy and Sponsorship.
ADEPT comment: The law was severely criticized by non-profit organizations operating in the Republic of Moldova, who addressed on several occasions the decision makers with the request not to adopt the law. The latter determined the Government to make public the draft law for public debates. Despite the criticism no other recommendations with regard to the law were proffered, that is why no major changes were operated to the initial draft.
Although one of the goals pursued by the Government in developing the draft was to set a favorable environment for and boosting philanthropy and sponsorship, the law does not provide any clear incentives in this respect.
II. Law on Theatres, Circuses and Concert Organizations.
ADEPT comment: The law regulates the set up, functioning, funding, reorganization and liquidation of the said institutions. The law also defines the following:
- Theatre is a public non-for-profit institution meeting societies' cultural needs, whose main goal is to create theatrical art;
- Circus is a public cultural institution meeting societies' cultural needs, whose major goal is to design and perform circus and other shows;
- Concert organization is a public institution meeting societies' cultural needs, whose major goal is to organize and perform concerts and other show-biz activities.
The initial draft suffered great changes during its examination in the previous readings, that is who we shall consider the law in detail upon its publication in the Official Monitor.
Legal acts adopted in the first reading (not final)
I. Draft laws on the modification and completion of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova.
ADEPT comment: The draft laws introduce new provisions on:
- Status of the Republic of Moldova citizens and that of the foreign citizens.
Under the modification the provision prohibiting Republic of Moldova citizens to hold more than one citizenship, in cases other than those provided in international agreements, shall be excluded.
Furthermore, new provisions shall be added to the Constitution allowing extradition of foreign citizens and stateless persons on the grounds of international treaties or organic law (for instance Penal Code).
The draft law has stirred a lot of controversial opinion, with many opposition deputies rejecting the idea of double citizenship, on the grounds that the Constitution already allows double citizenship as the Republic of Moldova ratified the European Chart on Citizenship, which does allow double and even more citizenship. Also, the current law on citizenship allows double citizenship in certain cases.
- Lifting deputies' immunity.
Under the modifications, provisions prohibiting the arrest, search of a deputy, except for felony cases, or legal proceedings, without a previous consent of the Parliament, shall be excluded. In addition under the modifications, jurisdiction immunity should refer only to the votes and political opinions voiced while exercising the mandate.
Opponents of the said modifications argued their stance by the fact that once constitutional guarantees excluded, it would be easy to persecute and influence deputies' decisions, given the difficulty in distinguishing between political and other kind of votes. The supporters of the draft argue their stance by the fact that all the citizens should be equal under law and accountable for their actions.
Given the fact that the draft was endorsed by almost 40 deputies of the majority faction, one may conclude that the final adoption of the draft would not be a problem.
- Granting deputies the right to conduct remunerated activities.
The modifications would entitle deputies to conduct other remunerated activities, such as: scientific, didactic and artistic research, exclusively after their working hours.
- Changing the judge and judiciary institutions status.
Under the modifications, the Parliament shall appoint, promote, transfer or oust judges at the recommendation of the Supreme Magistracy Council. Given the numerous public scandals it would be interesting to see whether the Parliament would succeed in overtaking President's prerogative, thus furthering the constitutional reform, or would yield to the authority of the President and of the ruling party.
As for judiciary institutions, under the modifications tribunals shall be reduced, whereas the procedure of appealing Court Resolutions shall be changed.
- Adding an Article in the Constitution regulating the Ombudsmen status.
Se presupune că Avocatul Poporului va fi o instituție independentă care va contribui respectarea drepturilor și libertăților constituționale ale omului.
It is expected that Ombudsmen shall be an independent institution, which would contribute to the observance of human rights and freedoms. Currently the function is exercised by Parliament Ombudsmen.
II. Draft law on consumers' rights.
ADEPT comment: The law would replace the regulations existing in the field and would introduce new elements of consumer protection, in line with the new civil and commercial law. Other innovations include:
- the minimal limit of moral damage (2,000 MDL);
- company's obligation to ensure the observance of consumers' rights;
- restrictions on sale of chemical and technical products without proper technical documentation, or without translation into the state language, etc.
III. Draft laws on excluding from privatization list several objects.
ADEPT comment: Under the modifications, various units located in Chisinau municipality shall be excluded from the privatization list, namely:
- Prophylactic Complex of the Orthopedics Hospital;
- S.A. Auto Enterprise no.4;
- "Armo-Beton" Ltd;
- "La izvor" Restaurant.