Parliament activity, December 15-19, 2003
26 December 2003
Apparently at the end of the year the Parliament decided to go on offensive probably viewing that the holiday season would ease the negative effects of their decisions, and would be a good occasion to cite the positive effects when reviewing the achievements of the year.
In only two days the deputies managed to adopt in the final reading the Conception of the State National Policy, a document severely criticised by political parties, researchers, men of culture and science alike. Moreover, it was criticised abroad as well, for the first time in the last 15 years the President of a neighbourhood country dubbed Moldovan ruling party as a totalitarian (Stalinist one).
On the other hand, as usual for the end of a session, Parliament examined a number of legal acts, which are to be enforced at the beginning of the new year. We shall consider some of them in a greater detail bellow.
I. Law on the Social Security Budget for Year 2004
ADEPT Comment: This is the second most important piece of legislation after the Law on the State Budget, as it affects all the citizens by establishing the taxes and fees.
The following taxes were set:
- 28% social security tax for employees working based on a work contract;
- 2% social security tax for individual insurance of the employees working based on a work contract or contracted to render services;
- 1.7 Lei on unit/hectare for insuring the owners of agricultural plots, regardless of the form of organisation;
- 4.5% for social insurance of the pensioners, handicapped employed in enterprises, public associations, etc;
- 10% of the net income for the founders of individual enterprises;
- 10% of the remuneration received for the services rendered (lawyers, notaries).
The law also raises the indemnities to be paid for children ranging 1.5-16 years old from 25 to 50 Lei and the ceiling of monthly income per family member eligible for indemnities from 18 to 100 Lei.
II. Law on measures for economic and financial recovery of economic agents in the field of agriculture
ADEPT Comment: The draft provides for measures to be taken in order to improve the situation in agricultural units restructured under the "Land" programme, which did not made them eligible for state support. It envisages supporting enterprises that stuck to the collective administration of property on land, and accrued huge debts to the state budget and penalties.
The law obliges Creditors Councils to conclude Memorandums with those enterprises so as to restructure their debts as of January 1, 2002 in line with the provisions of the Law on insolvency. This means that de facto those entities are insolvent, however several favourable terms allow them to recover.
III. Law on modifying the Law on cancelling the penalties and financial sanctions
ADEPT Comment: Under the modifications, penalties at the day of the enforcement of the law are cancelled in proportion of 80% to the agricultural producers. Opposition criticised the law on the grounds it favours those who breach the law to the detriment of those who comply with the law and pay taxes.
IV. Law on the modification of the Law on the Consumer Protection
ADEPT Comment: The law prohibits the import and sale of products that do not provide veridical information in Moldovan language or in Moldovan and Russian language.
V. Law on the modification and completion of legal acts on audio-visual advertising
ADEPT Comment: The law completes the list of restrictions provided for in the Code of Offence, thereby sanctioning the following:
- violation of the terms of airing the audio-visual programs established by the Audio-visual Co-ordinating Council and the Central Electoral Commission during the electoral campaign;
- airing on other frequencies or channels, breaching technical specifications, area or technical parameters as provided in the airing license;
- airing advertising by breaching other legal provisions.
Law on Advertising was also completed with new provisions:
- advertising should be loyal and honest;
- advertising should be identified without any special knowledge and technical devices;
- advertising should not mislead, nor should it infringe consumer interests;
- in mass-media, ads should be separated by means of distinct comments or headings from other shows, printed materials, video, and audio;
- subconscious advertising is prohibited;
- ads should be in Moldovan language, and at the contractor's wish in Moldovan and other languages if the contractor wishes, so in line with the provisions of the Republic of Moldova law and international treaties Republic of Moldova is part of;
- it shall be prohibited to use without authorisation state symbols, names of companies, enterprises, institutions or organisations.
VI. Resolution on designation of a new membership of the Central Electoral Commission
ADEPT Comment: On December 16, 2003 expired the mandate of the first Central Electoral Commission established back in 1997 after the adoption of the Electoral Code. In compliance with the electoral law the Presidency, Supreme Magistracy Council and Parliament designated new members for a six-year mandate.
The following were appointed:
Eugeniu CLIM - Chair of the Court of Appeal, Balti;
Nicolai CHISEEV - former judge, jurist of honour;
Valentin VIZANT - Chief of the control department over the enforcement of the President orders, Protocol Service, and Secretariat of the President Apparatus. Representative of the Communist Party to the Chisinau electoral council.
Ion CUCU - lawyer,
Iurie CIOCAN - University professor at the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Moldova Presidency,
Victor KOSTETKI - Dean of the Slavic University.
Mihai POALELUNGI - judge of the Supreme Court of Justice;
Maria MORARU - judge, Deputy Chair of the Economic Court of Appeal;
Iulia CIMPOI - judge at the Criuleni Rayon Court.
VII. Resolution on the structure and personnel of the Court of Accounts
ADEPT Comment: It was decided that the Court of Accounts personnel shall include 187 people, out of which 45 administrative apparatus. The structure of the Court would include the central apparatus including several departments and territorial structures in the Centre, South and North.
VIII. Resolution on changing the name of a parliamentary faction
ADEPT Comment: Based on an a ruling of a Constitutional Court it was decided that the changes in the name of the "Braghis Alliance" were null and void, as the law does not provide for changing a faction name (previously the name of the faction was changed to Social-Democratic Alliance and "Moldova Noastra" Alliance). This decision was severely criticised by the opposition on the grounds it breaches the autonomy of parliamentary factions and violates the Parliament Regulation, the Law on the Status of Deputy and other relevant laws.
IX. Draft law on the obligatory medical insurance fund for year 2004
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading provides that the revenues and expenditures of the obligatory medical insurance fund for year 2004 would be l.070.680,0 thousand Lei. The annual medical insurance was established at 441 Lei. Each employee would pay monthly 2% for the obligatory medical insurance. Experts are very sceptical with regard to the implementation of obligatory medical insurance as they believe neither the economy, nor the medical institutions are ready for its implementation. Furthermore, citizens would have to pay a considerable amount of money and still have to buy the medication and cover the cost of treating severe diseases. Nor are the international missions clear on whether Republic of Moldova is ready to embark on this reform.
X. Draft law on the audio-visual public institution
ADEPT Comment: The draft adopted in the first reading provides that audio-visual public institution will become a non-for-profit legal entity, operationally autonomous and editorially independent, which shall ensure a pluralism of opinions, right to complete and fast information, broadcasting on one or several administrative-territorial units. It shall be established by local public administration authorities in line with the law. The draft outlines the objectives of the institution, its rights and obligations. In great it copies the provisions of the Law on National Public Institution Teleradio-Moldova only adapting it to the scale of administrative-territorial unit.
It is worth mentioning that recently Chisinau Municipal Council approved a new organisational chart, thereby dissolving the Public Relations Department within which several audio-visual institutions were operating. Under the new organisational chart the latter are to re-registered as municipal enterprises.
Experts believe the law was designed to deprive Chisinau Mayoralty of the mass media which allegedly electioneer for the opposition.
XI. During the sessions of December 18-19, the Parliament adopted in the first reading a series of legal acts:
- Modification and completion of the Law on Education (referring to the status of private institutions).
- Modification of the Law on the Government (establishing a Trade Department).
- Law on Cinema.