Parliament Activity Review February 10-14, 2003
February 17, 2003
In the time period covered by this commentary the Parliament adopted the following legal acts:
I. Law on modification and completion of the Electoral Code.
ADEPT comment: One of the main reasons for the escalation of the protest rallies was the fact that a year ago Communist faction amended the Electoral Code and excluded the provisions referring to the direct election of the mayors and their revocation vial local referendum. The Communist Party resorted to such modifications, as it wasn't sure of the victory in direct elections, rather it preferred mayors to be elected by the local councils. In the partial elections of 2001 Communist candidates won in four out of 11 localities were mayors were reelected.
Constitutional Court outlawed the modifications operated by the Parliament. That is why the Parliament had to restore the provisions previously excluded.
Accordingly, the mayor may be revoked whenever he/she fails to observe the interests of the community, fails to fulfil his/her duties, or violates ethical and moral principles. The mayor may be revoked based on the court ruling whenever he/she:
- is incompatible with the position hold;
- takes part in the activity of unconstitutional entities;
- fails to observe the Constitution and other laws.
The last provision might turn to be very complicated for the Courts, as the Electoral law does not stipulate which violations should be sanctioned, which is left to the discretion of the Prosecutors and Courts. This might lead to different rulings being issued on similar cases.
Also the law provides that no person may run for more than two consecutive mandates.
By adopting the said law the Parliament rejected 4 other drafts on the modification of the Electoral Code submitted by the Social Democratic Alliance. In particular the drafts referred to:
- Introducing a mixed electoral system: 50 deputies to be elected in a single national constituency, whereas 51 in uninominal constituencies based on the majority system. Social Democratic Alliance intended to put this issue to a national referendum, however the Parliament did not endorsed the initiative.
- Introducing a preferential system, i.e. in case a candidate fails to pass the threshold of representation his/her votes shall not be distributed to the candidates who managed to pass the threshold, but rather to the parties sharing similar doctrines or programs.
The enforcement of the system might be difficult due to the close similarity between the doctrines and programs of various political parties.
- Changing the ballot design, by replacing the current ones with detachable ones so as to trace whether additional ballots have been brought to the polling place.
- Additional requirement to be met for the President to declare a referendum. Abolishing the requirement that 3/5 of the registered voters should take part in elections.
II. Law on modification and completion of the Law on the Status of the Deputy in Parliament.
ADEPT comment: The modifications regulate related businesses carried by the MPs. Previously, amendments were operated to the Constitution allowing deputies to conduct remunerated scientific and didactic activity. The law adopted by the Parliament specifies that such activities may not be carried out during working hours as specified in the Parliament Regulation.
Under the current Parliament Regulation, deputies work three days per week in the Commissions, factions, etc. Consequently, they may teach or do research in the two days left.