Parliament activity, June 14-18, 2004
23 June 2004
During the aforesaid period, Parliament examined several pieces of legislation some of them of major importance, in particular on presidential elections and investment funds.
I. Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Procedure of Electing the President of the Republic of Moldova
ADEPT Comment: A group of majority faction deputies come up with a proposition to amend the law (adopted by the Parliament simultaneously in two readings) in particular paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the law "Parliament of the same legislature elects a President only once, except for cases of vacancy of the Presidential seat (upon resignation, ousting, decease, or impossibility to exercise the responsibilities)". That aspect was not clearly stipulated in the Constitution provisions modified after the 2000 constitutional reform when the country shifted to parliamentary form of governing. As it stands now, the Parliament may formally proceed to electing the President at most 45 days before the expiration of the President mandate.
Opposition faction also came up with a draft in this respect that envisaged that election of the President may be conducted within two months after the mandate expiration. The draft was not supported by the Parliament as it allowed extending the mandate of the President in office, which might lead to any kinds of political conflicts or deadlock, if for instance the President is in conflict with Parliament and chooses not to promulgate organic laws on validating a new President.
By passing the amendment, Parliament confirmed its intention not re-elect the same president by the same legislature, rather giving this right to the next legislature. However, as there are no such provisions in the Constitution any legislature may choose to cancel this provision and elect the president, thus running the risk of raising severe criticism.
Noteworthy, according the current law President is elected at most 45 days before the day President mandate expires. Election date is set via a Parliament resolution.
Any citizen of the Republic of Moldova entitled to vote and who has reached 40 years of age, resided or resides on the soil of the Republic of Moldova for at least 10 years may run for the presidency.
Candidates for the Presidential office may be designated at his/her own initiative (provided is supported by 15 deputies) or by a group of at least 15 deputies.
The candidates who received 3/5 of the votes of elected deputies shall be considered elected. If none of the candidates gathers the necessary number of votes, the second round of elections shall be held no latter than 3 days, with the two candidates who received the highest number of votes running. If only one candidate runs in the first round and fails to gather the necessary number of votes, or if none of the candidates running in the second round receive the necessary number of votes than repeated elections are held. Upon parity of votes in the first round, the specially designated commission shall decide by lots the two contestants to run in the second round.
Based on the information submitted by the special commission, Parliament passes a resolution confirming the elected President. Within 3 days of receiving the Parliament Resolution, Constitutional Court shall examine at a public session the constitutionality of the election of the President of the Republic of Moldova and shall issue a ruling on validating election results, which shall be made public immediately.
II. Law on Ratification of International Acts on Free Trade
ADEPT Comment: Parliament ratified Free Trade Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and Government of Macedonia, as well as with Ministerial Council of Serbia and Montenegro. The two documents provide for the establishment of free economic zones and trade liberalization; moreover canceling customs taxes on import and export of industrial merchandise.
The two documents also refer to the general trade terms, such as guaranteeing free transit, introducing and applying antidumping, compensation and safeguard measures, taking defense measures upon unjustified subsidies from the state, protecting copyright, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, applying WTO mechanisms for litigation, etc.
III. Law on Modification of the Law on State Budget for 2004
ADEPT Comment: Under the law, National Bank shall provide a loan worth 50 million USD for a five year period, which is to be used for servicing foreign debt.
Government used the loan to buy back the debt on securities issued to Russian Gazprom, worth 115 million USD. The move allowed to save budget funds worth 60 million USD.
IV. Resolution on designating a new member of the Observer Council of the Teleradio-Moldova Public Broadcaster
ADEPT Comment: At the joint recommendation of all parliament factions, Victor Osipov, Chair of the Association of Electronic Press APEL was designated to the Observer Council. He will fill in the vacancy, after Vasile Butnaru resigned (no reasons were disclosed).
V. Draft law on modification of the Law on Investment Funds
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading provides for changes in the operation of investment funds and their reorganization from non-mutual funds into mutual funds or other legal forms. Modifications stem from the fact that upon the enforcement of the Law on Investment Funds, investment funds reorganized into non-mutual funds without buying back their own shares from their shareholders. As a result, shareholders of the non-mutual investment funds lost control over the funds, thus becoming shareholders not getting any revenues from the assets in the funds' administration. Under the draft, non-mutual investment funds shall reorganize in other investment funds or other legal form, or would decide on their liquidation. Also, under the draft, the funds that would not comply with the requirements would be liquidate in line with the law.
VI. Draft law on the modification of the Code of Civil Procedure
ADEPT Comment: Via the Constitutional Court ruling no. 2 of February 19, 2004 on the control over the constitutionality of certain provisions of Article 416 of the Code of Civil Procedure that limited the time allotted to participants to the trial to only 30 minutes. To ensure the enforcement of the said ruling the respective procedures had to be abrogated in the law. At the same time, the draft explains in greater detail the provisions allowing the Chair of the session to limit the time allotted to each part if he/she finds that their speech is not to the point.
VII. Draft law on the modification of legal acts on the activity of agricultural cooperatives
ADEPT Comment: The draft is intended to encourage reorganization of trade associations and enterprises having a natural entity status into agricultural enterprises. The pretext for amendments is to attract investments and boost agricultural production. Critics of the law argue that the real goal is to form production cooperatives, which are to concentrate the land in their hands and in a way return to some kind of kolhoz.