Parliament Activity Review November 18-22, 2002
November 25, 2002
Legal acts adopted in the final reading
During the said period the Parliament examined several legal acts pertaining to the electoral promises made by the Communist Party, namely amending the Constitution in view of allowing double citizenship; revising the retirement age and indemnification of the deposits at the Savings Bank.
I. Law on modification of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova
ADEPT comment: As already reported, the modification provides for:
- Allowing double citizenship.
This legalizes the status of Republic of Moldova citizens who hold double citizenship (according to some estimates there are 600,000 - 800,000 such citizens). Noteworthy, upon the adoption of the law, Romanian Government issued an ordinance suspending the award of Romanian citizenship to citizens of another countries.
- Allowing deputies to hold other remunerated positions.
The Parliament ruled that the MP position is incompatible with any other remunerated position, except for didactic and scientific activity. Initially, it was suggested that artistic activity should be allowed as well, and that those activities should be carried out after the working hours.
Noteworthy, initially it was envisaged to lift deputies' immunity, however the idea was abandoned in the final reading. This change was determined not by deputies' interest to adjust RM laws to international standards and principles, but rather by their interest in preserving certain privileges. Right from the beginning some deputies warned that if adopted, the amendment would allow any policemen to arrest a MP.
- Reform of the judiciary system.
- appointing judges
Initially it was suggested that judges to be appointed by the Parliament "so as to ensure an increased transparency and objectivity", however in the end deputies decided to leave the appointment of judges in the exclusive competence of the President, so as to ensure a rapid and easy procedure of appointing judges. Another recommendation not taken into account was opposition's request to oblige the President to appoint a certain judge, if the latter was repeatedly nominated by the Supreme Magistracy Council. The recommendation was rejected on the grounds that the President should be independent in exercising his functions.
- reducing the hierarchy of the courts of justice
The Parliament decided to abolish the tribunals and establish a three-layer hierarchy of the courts of justice. Opposition criticized the amendment on the grounds that it would be more difficult to establish the truth if one of the methods of appealing court resolutions is cancelled. However majority faction argued that it is necessary to simplify the judiciary system. It is worth mentioning that the legislature also ruled that judges working in the abolished tribunals should be employed in the existing or newly established courts.
- changing the structure of the Magistracy Supreme Council
Under the amendment, Magistracy Supreme Council shall be formed out of magistrates and titular professors, whereas the Chair of the Economic Court and Chair of the Court of Appeal shall be excluded. Another modification refers to the appointment of the Magistracy Supreme Council by the Parliament (via an organic law).
II. Law on modification of the Law on Retirement.
ADEPT comment: The legislature's members decided to stop for five years the progressive increase of the retirement age. Under the law, commencing January 1, 2003 men would retire at 62 and women at 57. Majority faction claims that by amending the law they had fulfilled one of their electoral promises.
III. Law on modification of the Status of Chisinau Municipality.
ADEPT comment: Under the law, Chisinau Mayor is excluded from the Government. Several reasons for the said modification were cited: observing Constitutional provisions; equal rights to all local public administration bodies; etc. Needless to say last week the Government endorsed the amendment, despite the fact that several months earlier it refused to do so and provided a lot of arguments in favor of their position.
IV. Law on military liability for damage.
ADEPT comment: The law provides military's liability for the damages incurred to the military unit patrimony, as well as procedure for recovering the damages.
V. Law on modification of the Law on the State Tax.
ADEPT comment: Under the law central public administration bodies, Court of Accounts and its territorial structures funded from the state budget shall be exempted from the state tax in cases the latter defend in court the state patrimonial interests.
Other legal acts adopted in the first reading (not final)
I. Draft law on indemnification of the deposits of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova in the Savings Banks.
ADEPT comment: The adoption of the law was part of the Communists' electoral program. The draft includes the following provisions:
- state's obligation with regard to the citizens having deposits at the Savings Bank;
- deposits shall be indemnified according to the situation as of January 2, 1992: under a 1:1 ratio for the first 1,000 rubles, and 2:1 ratio for the rest of deposited amount;
- law shall be enforced within the next 20 years;
- entrusting the Government to establish the procedure of indemnifying and repaying the deposits.
According to some preliminary estimates, the amount due to the population is 1,5 - 1,7 billion Lei. The Law on State Budget for Year 2003 provides an amount of 43 million. If the law is enforced, Republic of Moldova would be the first CIS country to repay the deposits. Opposition claims by adopting the law Communists hope to secure better results in the upcoming local elections.
II. Draft law on state social insurance budget for year 2003.
ADEPT comment: The draft provides for revenues of 2,229,066.7 thousand Lei and the same amount of expenditures. A 394 thousand increase registered as compared to this year. The amount would cover the expenditures for stopping the retirement census and establishment of a reserve fund of 100 million lei.
III. Draft law on canceling penalties of enterprises, which paid the debts to the obligatory state social insurance fund by April 1, 2002.
ADEPT comment: The law cancels the penalties due by 90 enterprises, which managed to repay the debts worth 10 million lei. The penalties are worth 6 million lei. It seems that such kinds of laws are very efficient in levying taxes due to the social security budget.
IV. Draft law on modification and completion of the Law on Petroleum Market.
ADEPT comment: Under the amendments an automated petroleum recording system shall be established. Another modification annuls importers' obligation to mark the petroleum upon its import in the Republic of Moldova. Previously it was thought that marking petroleum products would end the smuggling.