Democracy and governing in Moldova
II year, no. 25, 25 February 2004
Activity of public institutions
Studies, analyses, comments
I. Activity of public institutions
Dissention on political scenery
Suspending the immunity of a number of Christian-Democrats deputies has been on the top agenda of the Parliament over the last two weeks. Christian-Democrats are persecuted for organizing protest rallies at the Russian Embassy and National TV as well as for unauthorised protest rallies. At the call of the Prosecution Office, Communists backed by independent deputies voted in favour of suspending the immunity of Iurie Rosca, Vlad Cubreacov, Stefan Secareanu, and Valentin Chilat.
Via the Law on the modification of the Law on Government, the Parliament decided on the re-organisation of the Ministry of Environment, Constructions and Territory Planning into two separate structures: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department for Constructions and Territory Planning. This restructure comes only weeks after President Voronin dubbed the Ministry as a "monster" failing to handle all the tasks it was entrusted and after Gheorghe Duca was elected Chair of the Academy of Science.
Under the modifications to the Law on the modification of the Labour Code, the provision obliging employers applying for licensing to have a prior permission of the work protection bodies, was excluded. The Government lobbied the amendment with a goal to reduce the number of legal acts required for licensing and thereby boost small business.
The Resolution on 645-th anniversary of the Moldovan state provides for the celebration of the 645th anniversary of the Moldovan state via numerous events at the national and local level, which is of paramount importance for the "steadiness of the Moldovan nation. The document does not specify on the territory where the celebrations are to be held, between Prut and Dniester or on the whole area known as Moldova. The decision was passed in order to consolidate "multinational Moldovan" society, accelerate the restoration of the territorial integrity, and Moldova's affirmation in European community. The document does not provide any clear mechanisms for pursuing the said goals.
Moreover, Parliament ratified a number of international acts, such as Agreement on free trade between Republic of Moldova and Ukraine; Resolution of the CIS Governmental Council on the remuneration in the community bodies, providing for a wage increase to the officials working in the CIS structures so as to adjust them to the general living standards; Status of the Intra-European Organisation of Fiscal Administrations, which promotes co-operation and exchange of experience between fiscal authorities of the member states; Stockholm convention on organic pollution, aimed at protecting peoples' health and environment against organic pollution.
Last week Parliament passed the Law on the modification of legal acts regulating pharmaceutical industry, forbidding the sale or exchange of medications among wholesalers. Also medications and drugs are to be only imported directly from producers or their authorised dealers.
Also Parliament appointed Valeriu Gurbulea as Senior Deputy to the Prosecutor General, previously Secretary of the Supreme Security Council of the Moldovan Presidency, and confirmed the membership of the General Prosecution College.
On February 11, Government ousted two Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, namely Ion Stavila and Vitalie Slonovschi. The two will be replaced by Eugenia Kistruga, former Foreign Policy Councillor to the Presidency, and Sergiu Stati, former consultant. The move comes only two weeks after Andrei Stratan replaced Nicolae Dudau as Foreign Affairs Minister.
One week later, Victor Zlacevschi, Parliament representative at CIS Inter-parliamentary Assembly was appointed Republic of Moldova's Ambassador to Romania. Also, Anatol Dubrovschi, former Culture, Education and Science Councillor to the Presidency was appointed Deputy Minister of Education, whereas Valeriu Lazar, Director of the "Intelligent Service" was appointed Deputy Minister of Economy.
At the request of the liquidation commission of the "Teleradio-Moldova" state company, on February 11 Government decided to liquidate the company for it to be reorganised into a public institution. Once the decision is approved by the Parliament it would be interesting to see whether journalists not exactly loyal to the Company leadership would be invited to join the team of the public TV.
To keep its promises to employers and trade unions, last week Government ruled that as of February 1, 2004 monthly tariffs for 1st degree employees of the self-sustainable economic units would be 440 Lei and 360 Lei for the same category employees in public medical institutions and agriculture. For the latter, the deadline for enforcement will be stretched, but only until September 1, 2004.
Government also approved on February 18, a program on the development of the pharmaceutical industry throughout 2004-2006. In particular the program provides for developing pharmaceutical research, extension of the medical supply network on the entire soil of the Republic, ensuring high quality medicines. Within two weeks, relevant Ministries should come up with another plan that would allow "for at least one state-owned pharmacy to be opened in each locality and hospital".
Under another draft law, a 85 km gas pipeline is to be build from Causeni to Chisinau, worth 25 million USD. It is believed the pipeline would provide greater energetic security to the capital city and bring gas to around 20 localities.
Government also endorsed a Regulation thereby public vacancies are to be filled based on competition. The applicants would have to pass a written test and an interview, and also pay an admission fee.
National Commission for European Integration
On February 14, National Commission for European Integration and decision-makers from relevant ministries and departments followed on the Individual Action Plan Republic of Moldova - EU. The propositions made by them are to be discussed with European experts during the second round negotiations scheduled for February 23 in Brussels. Vasile Tarlev was quoted as saying "Action Plan should provide for specific actions aimed at developing the PRSP, Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and co-operation within Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe". The press release reads "top priorities should include inauguration of a permanent EU office in Chisinau, signing an asymmetric free trade agreement and an stabilisation and association agreement based on the four core liberties: free circulation of goods, money, services and citizens".
Building an information society
Free Internet connectivity to secondary schools and libraries has been on the agenda of a session convened by President Voronin. He was quoted as saying "building an information society should become a national priority as part of European integration efforts. Joining EU is not possible unless we meet European standards, especially in the social-economic, educational and informational fields". In this respect decisive and innovative measures were needed to make a big step towards informational society, pointed the President, adding that there were conditions in place for that to happen.
The President called for a plan to be developed outlining how to build an informational society, the first stage thereof being free internet connectivity to all secondary schools and libraries by the end of 2005. A Task Fore was established under the auspices of the Ministry of Education to co-ordinate and monitor the plan enforcement.
A new plan on Transnistria settlement
Upon the request of the Bulgarian chairmanship of the OSCE, the OSCE Mission in Chisinau published on 16 February the Transnistrian settlement plan drafted by the mediators last autumn, which plan was presented to the Moldovan and Transnistrian sides for feedback and comments earlier, according to an agreement reached by the mediators in Sofia last month. The document entitled "Proposals and recommendations of the mediators from the OSCE, the Russian Federation, Ukraine with regards to the Transnistrian settlement" does not determine a definite deadline for the conclusion of negotiations or for the adoption of the federal Constitution. It only makes general references to the structure of the future federal state and of the Parliament and to the method of electing the President. Thus, the reintegrated Republic of Moldova is o be a federal state, with one federal subject - Transnistria. The federal subject may leave the federation should Moldova lose its current status under international law or join another state. The plan provides for a series of political, economic, humanitarian and military guarantees. The latter are to be provided in the form of international peace keeping troops under an OSCE mandate. The plan grants more powers to the federal bodies than the one proposed by the Russian Federation last November, as well as significant leverages over the federal subjects. The Federal Parliament will have two chambers, of which the upper chamber will be elected on the basis of the territorial-administrative principle, and the head of state will be elected either through direct vote or through the vote of the Parliament.
The two sides have already submitted their proposals to the mediators on the plan. These will be discussed on 24 February in Belgrade during a new three sided meeting of the mediators. The date for resuming the negotiations is to be established afterwards.
The withdrawal of Russian weaponry from Transnistria
The Russian Defence Minister Serghei Ivanov told the annual NATO Conference in Munich on 6-7 February that Russia might ask for the re-negotiation of the Istanbul agreements, in particular of the Treaty of Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). According to Ivanov, the EFE Treaty will loose its capability of maintaining stability and the balance of interests in Europe once new seven states join NATO, some of which do not participative in the CFE. Under these new politico-military conditions, Russia believes it justified to re-negotiate the terms of withdrawal of its troops and weaponry from Georgia and Moldova.
A few days later, the Russian Ambassador to Moldova Iuri Zubakov told a press conference in Chisinau that Russia has fully fulfilled its obligations under the CFE with regards to the Republic of Moldova, and that the Russian military contingent stationed in Transnistria will be evacuated as soon as the necessary conditions are in place. According to Zubakov, the two month pause in the withdrawal process is due to some "complications" related to the failure of the Russian-proposed federalisation plan last November, and to the pending issue of financial compensations demanded from Russia by the Transnistrian authorities.
In reply to the statements of Ambassador Zubakov, the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a communique in which it said that the issue of the political resolution of the Transnistrian conflict may in no event be synchronised with the evacuation of Russian troops and munitions from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, and urges the Russian Federation to fulfil its Istanbul commitments without further delay. According to the communique, any relationship between the failure to sign the Russian proposal and the pause in the evacuation of Russian munitions "is counterproductive to the resolution of conflict and may only have negative repercussions on the behaviour of the Transnistrian authorities at the negotiations table".
It appears, however, that the Transnistrian authorities do not share these statements, as they have recently declared that they want Russia to maintain its military presence in the region until the final resolution of the conflict between Chisinau and Tiraspol.
The dispute around the Moldovan police commissariat in Tighina (Bender)
The situation around the Moldovan police commissariat and the penitentiary for TBC infected inmates from Tighina, both institutions administratively subordinated to the Moldovan authorities, has significantly deteriorated during the period covered in this e-journal. The local authorities have for several years demanded that the two institutions be evacuated from the town, and since August 2003 have disconnected them from the town water and energy supply. Since several rounds of negotiations on this issue within the Joint Control Commission have failed, the local authorities have reverted last week a series of actions o forceful evacuation of the Moldovan police from Tighina (Bender). After having dismantled the windows and doors of half of the building, where among other institutions the Moldovan police commissariat is based, they have dismantled the roof over part of the building, including some offices of the commissariat. Although the incident has not resulted in any violent clashes between the workers of the commissariat and the team of repair workers, it has left its mark over the already tensioned relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol. The Moldovan Reintegration Minister Vasile Sova called the actions of the Tighina (Bender) authorities a flagrant violation of the ceasefire agreement of 1992 and a provocation to Chisinau. On the other hand, the OSCE Mission in Moldova has called upon the Transnistrian authorities to refrain from unilateral actions that might destabilise the situation.
III. Studies, analyses, comments
Preparations for elections
Igor Botan, 25 February 2004
Albeit there is almost one year left until electoral campaign officially starts, parties are already warming up. So far, possible electoral alliances and relations between power and opposition have been topping the agenda of the would-be electoral contestants. Therefore, the legal framework, which would govern the electoral process, has been totally neglected
Discord among authorities and domestic producers
Iurie Gotisan, 25 February 2004
For domestic producers "Produced in Moldova" exhibition opened on February 10 was a good opportunity to complain about deficient laws, high taxes, tight competition with foreign importers, and not less important bureaucracy; rather than show off their products, the great majority of which have been presented earlier anyway