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Parliament Activity Review December 16-27, 2002
December 30, 2002
As usual at the end of the session Parliament examined quite a number of legal acts, trying to adopt the ones considered to be a priority or the ones due to enter in force at the end of the calendar year. Respectively, a special attention was given to the Law on the State Budget and the Law on Social Insurance. Besides the aforesaid acts the Parliament managed to examine several important draft laws.
Legal acts adopted in the final reading
I. The Law on approving the regulations on establishment and operation of Control Commissions and income declarations.
ADEPT comment: The law is aimed to ensure the enforcement of the Law on income declarations, passed by the Parliament last summer. Under that law by January 30, 2003 all state officials are to submit their income declarations. According to the newly adopted law several Commissions are to be established whereto declarations are to be submitted:
- The following shall submit declarations to the Central Control Commission: President of the Republic of Moldova, MPs, Government members, judges of the Constitutional Court, of the Supreme Court of Justice, of the Court of Appeal, members of the Supreme Magistracy Council, judges, Prosecutor General, prosecutors and their deputies, members of the Court of Accounts, members of the National Bank Board of Directors, members of the Securities National Commission, ombudsmen, Chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission and his/her deputies, chiefs of local public administration.
- The following shall submit declarations to the Department Commission of the State Chancellery: Deputy Ministers, Chiefs of Departments and their Deputies, Chiefs of State Services, Chiefs of the Customs Offices and their deputies, Heads of State Agencies and their deputies, Head of License Chamber and his/her deputy, Heads of public institutions, state or municipal enterprises, or enterprises with state capital and their deputies.
- The following shall submit declarations to the commissions established within public administration: state officials, other high rank specialists.
The regulations adopted by the Parliament provide that whenever violations are found the relevant commissions are to address the Center for Fighting Economic Crimes and Corruption.
II. Law on fingerprint registration.
ADEPT comment: As compared to the first draft (see ADEPT comment of October 14-18, 2002) several amendments have been operated regarding sources of funding, tabulation, and recording. The law provides that public institutions whose employees are obliged to undergo fingerprint registration should cover the relevant expenses. Drivers, refuge seekers as well as citizens leaving for a job abroad should have their fingerprints registered, at a cost of 20 Lei. Overall, the enforcement of the law would cost around 2 million lei, however the budget does not provide for such an amount.
III. Law on amending legal acts regulating the activity of Constitutional Court.
ADEPT comment: The law provides that upon parity of votes during the adoption of resolution on the constitutionality of legal acts or international treaties, the relevant act or treaty shall be considered constitutional. In other cases, the decision shall be postponed.
Also the Parliament deprived the Chair of the Constitutional Court of the right to decisive vote upon parity vote. Opposition claims the move is aimed at subordinating the Constitutional Court to the majority faction interests, as the ruling party has recently appointed two of the Court members.
IV. Law on the import and export of goods from the country.
ADEPT comment: In the final reading, provisions have been introduced increasing the non-taxable amount from 100 to 200 Euro. Also, the amount of alcohol allowed into the country was increased from 1 to 2 liters. The law also provides other goods that could be verbally declared. In other cases, the person should fill a written customs declaration. The law allows bringing or taking out of the country precious metals worth 10,000 Euro. Separate provisions of the law regulate the import of vehicles into the country.
V. Law on museums.
ADEPT comment: The above law regulates the establishment and operation of state and private museums. The law defines such notions as museum, museum collection, museum patrimony, scientific, historic, cultural or museum evaluation. Museums have the following functions:
- preserving the patrimony;
- ensuring patrimony safety;
- undertaking cultural and scientific programs to promote cultural patrimony;
- scientific and cultural exchanges.
The law also regulates state policy in the field, administration of museums, rights of the personnel, liquidation, etc.
VI. Law on additional pensions to the residents to the left of Dniester river.
ADEPT comment: Commencing January 1, 2003 pensioners and disabled residing in Cocieri, Cosnita, Dorotcaia, Pirita and Molovata Noua villages, situated on the left bank of Dniester river shall receive additional 50-100 lei to their pensions.
VII. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Education.
ADEPT comment: The law specifies the procedure for Government to follow when recommending the President to establish or reorganize scientific research institutions. Previously, opposition claimed that the law was an attempt to undermine universities' autonomy and that the law should not govern private institutions.
VIII. Law on establishing Tourism Department.
ADEPT comment: Under the law, National Tourism Agency shall be reorganized into the Tourism Department. The Government shall approve the new structure and organizational chart of the newly established Department. Currently the Agency employs 11 persons. After reorganization the Department is to develop tourism as a branch of the national economy. Many experts are skeptical with regard to the efficiency of such measures, as the establishment of a new bureaucratic structure would not contribute to better a infrastructure or better services in the field.
IX. Law on obligatory medical insurance.
ADEPT comment: Although obligatory medical insurance was postponed for six months, the Parliament adopted the frame law regulating the amount and procedure of paying medical insurance. The law shall be binding for all local public administration bodies, companies, institutions, organizations and other economic units regardless of their form of property, as well as for natural entities practicing entrepreneurial activity, as well as for foreign residents. The amount due for medical insurance in 2003 shall be 340 lei.
X. Resolution on raising the salary to the Constitutional Court judges.
ADEPT comment: The Parliament decided to raise the salary of the Constitutional Court magistrates, judges and assistants to the judges. Also an indemnification for high professionalism worth 50% of the salary was established. Under the law, The Chairperson of the Constitutional Court shall receive a 450 lei indemnity.
On the one hand the Parliament restricted Constitutional Court's possibility to rule as unconstitutional laws and international treaties, on the other hand it raised the salaries so as to motivate them.
XI. Laws on ratification of international acts.
ADEPT comment: The Parliament ratified the following:
- European Convention on overseeing the purchase and holding of arms by individuals.
- CIS agreement on provision of medication, vaccines, and other medical products produced in CIS.
- European Convention on cross-border television.
Legal acts adopted in the first reading (not-final)
I. Draft law on fighting extremism.
ADEPT comment: The draft regulates activities aimed to fight extremism, so as to defend human rights and freedoms, constitutional governing and preserving the integrity of the Republic of Moldova. Extremist activities are considered:
- the activity of non-governmental and religious organizations, of mass media or any other organization, as well as of the legal entity consisting in planning, organization, preparation or conduct of an action aimed to seize the state power, to establish illegal armed forces, to conduct terrorist actions, or mass disorders, etc.
- promoting or displaying in public fascist symbols or any other symbols of the kind;
- funding or other in-kind contributions to the aforesaid activities;
- calls to conduct aforesaid actions.
Opposition criticized the draft on the grounds that the law would enable the President to ban political parties and organizations in opposition to the incumbent governing. The reaction of the Council of Europe experts determined Communist faction to postpone further examination of the draft for the spring session.
II. Draft law on veterans.
ADEPT comment: The draft defines the legal status of the veterans and veteran associations and provides economic, social and political guarantees to the veterans, fosters a respectful attitude towards them in the society, and supports veteran organizations in their efforts to mold public opinion.
Fifty eight million lei would be necessary for the enforcement of the law, however no such amounts are available at the moment. We shall monitor closely further developments related to the draft in our next commentaries.
III. Draft law on labor market and social assistance to unemployed.
ADEPT comment: The draft regulates strategies and policies aimed to increase workplaces and train unemployed, to provide social security to the unemployed, and fight unemployment.