Parliament Activity, October 11-15, 2004
25 October 2004
As reported by media, last legislative week was the most peaceful and quite in a long time, however not without exceptions, TV debates between the power and opposition. Further, Parliament passed a number of important pieces of legislation, some of which shall be given due consideration.
I. Law on Privatization of Enterprises to the Left of Dniester and Bender Municipality
ADEPT Comment: During the first reading of the draft opposition deputies claimed the document was infringing on the rights of citizens residing to the right of Dniester and de facto "recognizes Tiraspol authorities", however during the final reading they voiced no major objections.
Only several wording amendments were operated: afterwards deputies voted the draft in the second reading, thereby taking a very important political decision.
Noteworthy, the law was initiated by the President of the country in an attempt to prevent illegal alienation of state property in favour of Tiraspol secessionist authorities. Under the law, former and current employees of the enterprises are entitled to take part in the privatization of that particular enterprise. All privatization agreements of enterprises concluded by infringing this law as well as other normative acts of the Republic of Moldova shall be declared null and void. Therefore, the state would be able to guarantee property right on enterprises provided privatization was carried out in line with this law.
II. Law on Liquidation of the Legislative Centre
ADEPT Comment: Via the law provisions from the Law on Government were excluded as regards Legislative Centre. The latter was entrusted to draft and endorse legal acts of the Government and Presidency. The Centre was established in 2001, when Government passed Resolution no. 842, thereby "the process of developing draft laws and other normative acts in the state administration was found unsatisfactory".
Government approved the basic responsibilities of the Centre, its structure and funding.
Almost one year after Government decision, on July 11, 2002 Parliament passed the Law on Completing the Law on Government, thereby including Legislative Centre as part of central public administration subordinated to Government. Interestingly, Government firstly established a new structure and later asked deputies to legalize it, move that gathered a rich harvest of criticism from opposition and majority faction alike.
Following the same pattern of neglecting Parliament, on September 30, 2004 Government decided (Resolution no. 1080) to dissolve Legislative Centre as of October 2004. Its responsibilities were delegated to Ministry of Justice that would be responsible in the future for developing draft laws and draft resolutions of the Government as regards judiciary; provide legal expertise and endorse draft laws and other normative acts; perfect legislation; improve the quality of draft laws, etc.
Only on October 14, 2004 Parliament did endorse Government initiative, expressing its regret that the Centre felt short of the expectations and that legislation was still of low quality.
While examining the draft law no mention was made that it has been developed at the President's initiative. President had personally met with the Centre employees and expressed his hope that they would fighting nepotism and departmental interest and put an end to the chaos in legislation drafting.
III. Law on Converting Debts of the "Cereale-Cupcini" into Securities
ADEPT Comment: Under the law, historic debts of "Cereale Cupcini" (700 thousand Lei to state budget and 2.4 million Lei and 28 thousand USD to Ministry of Finance for foreign credits) were converted into state securities. Cereale-Cupcini would settle its debts to state budget and Ministry of Finance by additionally issuing securities, later to be transferred into their property. The move would enable Cereale-Cupcini to raise its registered capital.
The law does not specify what should be done with other shareholders and what compensation they would get once the value of their shares drops significantly. Apparently, the law was a good way to disguise the bankruptcy so as to avoid any alienation of property.
IV. Draft Law on Governmental Agent - State Representative at the European Court for Human Rights
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading outlines the rules for Governmental Agent - representative of Republic of Moldova's Government at the European Court for Human Rights, who shall operate as part of the Ministry of Justice. Under the draft, the Agent shall be appointed/ ousted by the Government, at the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice.
Candidates to the position should: have a law degree; be familiar with administrative law, human rights; be fluent in one of the two languages - English or French. He/she would:
- represent the Government of the Republic of Moldova at the ECHR and exercise any other responsibility provided for in Convention of ECHR Regulation;
- oversee measures adopted in view of enforcing ECHR judgements and recommend authorities measures to be taken so as to avoid any infringement of the Covenant and Additional Protocols;
- inform judges, prosecutors, public officers on the ECHR jurisprudence;
- at the decision of the Government, appeal to ECHR on bilateral cause.
The draft also obliges public authorities and other natural entities of the private law to submit to the Agent in due time all the documents, data and info requested by him/her.
For seven years since leaving the position, Governmental Agents would be prohibited to represent plaintiffs in cases examined by Court, if they took part in the hearings.
V. Draft law on modification of legal acts as regards press
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading introduces a string of amendments as regards the operation of media outlets. Under the draft, media outlets and press agencies may establish affiliated structures doing business, other than distributing copies and promotional materials as provided in the Civil Code. In such cases, the structures are registered as legal entities as provided by the Law on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises no. 845-Xll of 03.01.92.
Media outlets established as Ltd solely to disseminate advertising materials shall be registered under the Law on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises.
If established as cooperative, media outlets or press agencies shall be registered with the Ministry of Justice in the Single National Registry of periodicals and press agencies. Under the draft, founder of the media outlet would not be allowed to interfere in the editorial policy of the periodical or press agency he/she established.
Also the draft provides that within 3 months, periodicals and press agencies registered under the Law on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises shall re-register with the Ministry of Justice and be included in the Single National Registry. Re-registration shall be for free.