Parliament Activity Review November 11-15, 2002
November 18, 2002
During the said period the Parliament examined several important pieces of legislation.
Legal acts adopted in final reading
I. Law on distribution of copies of literary works and phonograms.
ADEPT comment: A significant modification was operated to the draft law since its adoption in the first reading, namely the number of control signs to be ordered by the Parliament was increased from 500,000 to 1000,000,000 given the high number of turnover. It remains to be seen if the Moldovan distributors would comply with the imposed regulations.
II. Law on measures to be undertaken to improve economic and financial situation of the zoo-technical enterprises.
ADEPT comment: Under the law the debts payable by the zoo-technical enterprises for the credits taken, as well as debts payable to the state budget shall be frozen for a 5 year period. In addition, it was decided to cancel the penalties and fines accrued for the failure to pay the debts to the state budget. Furthermore the Parliament decided to exempt the said enterprises from all the payments due to the state budget for a 3-year term. A total of 30 enterprises would benefit of the said exemptions.
The Parliament recommended local public administration bodies to freeze the debts (taxes due to the local budgets) of the said enterprises, based on bilateral contracts to be concluded. Deputies decided to support enterprises, whose activity was halted, and whose poor economic and financial situation is due to poor management and inconsistency of the reforms in the field.
III. Law on modification of the Land Code.
ADEPT comment: Under the modifications, agricultural plots reserved for the social development of the rural localities shall be transferred into the private property of the "families in which neither of the members received a land plot". The phrase was modified in such a manner as to allow only one member of the family to receive the plots. The modification was aimed to solve the problem with the families that received several plots, latter on difficult to withdraw.
IV. Law on modification and completion of the Telecommunication Law.
ADEPT comment: The President refused to promulgate the law and recommended liberalizing IP telephony services. Consequently, the Parliament ruled to preserve Moldtelecom monopoly on providing domestic and international call services, except for IP telephony, until December 31, 2003.
The law puts an end on the controversial state monopoly on IP telephony services. International financial organizations also lobbied for the liberalization of the said services. Furthermore they set liberalization as one of the conditions to be met by the Moldovan authorities for receiving the next tranches of the credit.
V. Law on the state budget for 2003.
ADEPT comment: The Parliament examined the most important financial law during a record period. The usual legislative forum debates, which used to accompany the adoption of the law, this time have been transferred to the special commission assigned to finalize the law, including among others opposition and independent deputies.
The Parliament didn't significantly change the original draft. Although declared to be socially oriented, a significant increase of allocations to the Forces Ministries was registered.
Legal acts adopted in the first reading or rejected
I. Law on modification of the Law on Political Parties and Other Socio-Political Organizations
ADEPT comment: The said draft law was developed and submitted by the Christian-Democratic Peoples' Party. It envisages the increase of the minimum number of party members required for the party registration from 5,000 to 15,000 members. Furthermore, under the draft law all political parties shall get re-registered within 3 months of the enforcement of the law.
There were controversial opinions on the law, some opposition and majority faction deputies stated that it would breach constitutional provision and democratic principles. However they brought no concrete arguments in favor of their position.
Some deputies pointed that Christian-Democrats and Communists were trying to monopolize political spectrum and hinder the appearance of new players. It seems that they are right given the recent increase in the threshold of representation and intended increase of the minimum party members.
It remains to be seen whether the draft law would be further modified or whether Council of Europe would be satisfied with its adoption.
II. The Parliament rejected the draft law on access to environmental information.
ADEPT comment: The draft law was submitted back in 1996. Ilia Trombitski Chairperson of "Biotica" NGO developed it. The Parliament rejected the draft on the grounds that a similar law, namely Law on Access to Information was passed in 2000. If necessary, the Parliament would later on include a separate chapter on access to environmental information in the Law on Access to Information.