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Strategic consensus vs opposition regarding governing mode
Sergiu Grossu, November 22, 2005
In spite of a critical attitude towards "national consensus" between power and "constructive" opposition, established after the March 2005 parliamentary elections, representatives of parliamentary political forces manage to demonstrate that the so-called "consensus" envisages only strategic problems for Moldova - European integration, settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and democratisation of society. Thus, parliamentary factions appointed their representatives in the Central Electoral Commission and representatives of the Parliament in the Superior Council of Magistrates almost without debates. Also, all factions supported amendments to the Election Code and schedule of legislative actions for implementation of recommendations of the Council of Europe in the national legislation almost without any objections.
As regards problems related to mode of governing and administration of public affairs, relations between power and opposition develop traditionally. This became evident during talks on the budget law for 2006, when it was observed that the political consensus does not cover other sectors of major importance. Of course, every parliamentary faction relies and calls on its segment of electorate, in order to demonstrate that it protects its interests, trying to promote both general proposals on financial and budgetary policies, and some concrete issues such as financing of construction of some objects, gasification of some localities, repairing and endowment of some institutions, etc., in the annual budget law. The parliamentary faction representing the Christian Democratic People's Party (PPCD) used an interesting method in this regard - it tabled a series of concrete proposals regarding endowment with computers and printers of all courts, bodies of prosecutor's office, Information and Security Service, local public administration authorities, and pre-university educational institutions. The cost of these proposals was estimated at about 48 million lei and the executive could not accept these modifications, though Christian Democratic lawmakers indicated some chapters from where sources could be distributed. However, PPCD lawmakers showed to public opinion through their initiative that they want to support juridical institutions, local public administration, presidential programme on endowment of schools with computers, while Government (governing) "does not accept cooperation on these concrete problems."
Differences and different tackling of problems by majority faction and opposition parliamentary factions were also indicated during examination of other draft legislative documents, especially law on introduction of indemnities for holders of some state orders and law on amendment of the law on cadastre of real estate goods.
State budget law for 2006
As the basic parameters of the budget were established during voting in the second reading, lawmakers redistributed some means in the final reading, increasing or reducing different spending, in line with amendments presented by parliamentary factions and lawmakers.
The key amendments call among others for additional allocation of 30 million lei to the agriculture sustenance fund, which will count for 220 million lei in 2006. The decision to reimburse the entire 20-percent standard VAT that agricultural producers will pay for phytotechny, horticulture and livestock production, to agricultural producers in a short term is part of the same context. Thus, the authorities want to reduce the negative impact of introduction of the complete VAT in agriculture, policies that risk to compromise more the lamentable condition of this sector of national economy. The reserve fund of executive was reduced by 15 million lei, and these sources will be redistributed for gasification and water providing to localities, reconstruction of some social and public healthcare facilities.
The social composition of the budget for next year comprises several positive elements, including:
- rise of spending for maintenance of education system by 1.94 billion lei (by 33.8 percent compared with 2005);
- rise of budgetary means for implementation of national healthcare programme by 158.7 percent compared with this year;
- rise of single birth indemnity for uninsured people up to 800 lei.
The financial law for next year was voted definitively after short debates, with the permanent commission and majority faction turning down most of proposals and amendments of all opposition factions. Thus, the budget was adopted with the votes of only 53 lawmakers, at the limit of votes needed for adoption of organic laws (52 votes). The opposition factions motivated their refusal to take part in the voting through negligence of their initiatives and amendments or their rejection by majority without any essential arguments. They warned that the document lacks the component needed for an intensive and sustained economic growth and development.
According to opposition factions, 90 percent of amendments of majority faction were accepted, and almost all proposals of the "constructive" and "active" oppositions were ignored. In reply, representatives of the competent commission and majority faction invoked cases when important sources have been allocated to "mayoralties headed by representatives of other parties, not of the Communist Party of Moldova," if these needs were enough and legally argued. In this regard, the chairman of the parliamentary commission for economy, industry, budget and finances said that lawmakers proposed about 400 amendments, with additional demands seeking larger budgetary spending accounting for over 5 billion lei.
Law establishing indemnities for holders of some state orders
The law adopted by Parliament established a 500-leu monthly indemnity for retirees who hold the title of Hero of Socialist Labour and Labour Glory Order of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees of the former Soviet Union, as well as for retirees who are chevaliers of the Order of the Republic, a supreme order established by Moldovan legislation. The law was finally adopted after long debates, with opposition factions demanding the inclusion of chevaliers of the Stefan cel Mare order (more than 120 persons), which is the highest military order of Moldova, in the list of beneficiaries. The provision on chevaliers of the Order of the Republic was included in the final text at the insistence of opposition, since the executive proposed only to mention the holders of Soviet orders in the initial draft. Representatives of the executive did not openly motivate the discriminatory treatment towards holders of Moldovan orders, but parliamentary majority representatives motivated the initial reticence through lack of necessary financial resources and stance of the government in this sector.
It was established after investigations that more than 140 persons hold the Order of the Republic (and not all of them are retirees), while only 59 persons hold the title Hero of Socialist Labour and Labour Glory Order.
If the idea to include the Stefan cel Mare Order was accepted, the need to award indemnities for orders of the USSR assimilated to it would be considered: Red Flag Order, World War II Order, Red Star Warder, Glory Order, Order for Personal Courage, a situation that would require much larger financial resources.
The total amount that will be allocated for indemnities established through this law accounts for 700,000 lei, but it will be fluctuating, in dependence of reduction of number of holders of Soviet orders and rise of the number of holders of supreme orders of Moldova.
Draft law on amendment of law on cadastre of real estate goods
The draft approved in the first reading calls for amalgamation of all cadastral offices into a single state-owned enterprise. The branches in localities could be maintained, but they would have strictly delimited functions, being deprived of administrative and financial independence. It is foreseen that a more judiciary system of cadastral management would be created this way, while the responsibility of employees in this sector would grow.
The PPCD faction did not warm some provisions of the draft, fearing that their implementation may generate higher tariffs for cadastral services, while the reorganisation initiative aims to "concentrate all finances in one hand."
As regards planned changes, it was noted that one of key goals of this "reform" is to obtain control by sacking the acting chairmen of some cadastral offices from big municipalities, who have earlier been appointed for unlimited terms. The control on cadastral information is wished because it means indeed control on information about all real estate objects in these localities, formal owners, price of initial acquisition and price established in line with latest evaluations, planned sales or privatisation of real estate, etc.