Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

Is it possible to revise the Constitution?

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July 1, 2002
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Last week the governmental media launched the idea that the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova needs to be revised. This is the second time since the Communist came to power, that a governmental daily launches the idea or revising the Constitution. Last November it was Nezavisiamaia Moldova, now it is Moldova Suverana. Obviously we witness authorities’ attempt to probe the public opinion. Two weeks ago during a scientific conference dedicated to Communists’ one year governing, President Vladimir Voronin himself voiced the need to revise the Constitution so as to establish a new framework for the Republic of Moldova development, acceptable to all political parties, which would succeed to power.

Currently, the pretext for the Constitution modification is the speculation that the settlement of the Transdnistrian crisis is close and that at the time a formula for the integration of the breakaway region is being sought. Noteworthy, the negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol on the legal status of Transdnistrian region are scheduled for June 1 in Kiev.

For Transdnistrian leaders the compromise solution in the edification of the so-called “common state” is the confederation of sovereign states, or the Montenegro and Serbia model. However, the Chief of the OSCE Mission in Moldova viewed the variant developed by the Transdnistrians as lacking content. It is also known for a fact that Russia, a guarantor country in the negotiation process, favors the federalization rather than con-federalization way of settling the conflict — position voiced by Evghenii Primakov last year, when delegated by Vladimir Putin to represent Russia in settling of Transdnistrian conflict. The formula suggested by Primakov: Moldova not a unitary state, Transdnistria not a sovereign state. Thus, two of the three guarantors, OSCE and Russia oppose the variant suggested by Transdnistria for settling the conflict. It seems, though, that the breakaway leaders are still optimistic. According to them, Voronin only talks about resuming the negotiations, as for the legal status of Transdnistria, Moldovan side has so far failed to devise any solution, which it might put forth at the negotiations. That is why, until it drafts its variant of Transdnistrian status, Chisinau should prove its good intentions and let Tiraspol resume its international trade. Chisinau has been falling in this trap for 10 years now. Once allowed to resume foreign trade, Tiraspol leaders lost any interest in deciding Transdnistrian legal status within the Republic of Moldova.

Given the above said, one may say Moldovan authorities try to substitute discussions on the Transdnistria status with those on Constitution modification, which might allow for the integration of the breakaway region within Republic of Moldova. Indeed, it would be logical for the draft on Transdnistrian status to be publicly debated and simultaneously modifications, which are to be operated in the Constitution to be discussed, so as to find a legal solution to the conflict.

The fact that right from the beginning it was discussed to amend the Constitution in view of a bicameral Parliament, points to the fact that Chisinau is ready to accept federalization as a variant of settling the conflict. It is true that there are bicameral Parliaments in unitary states as well. An illustration of this is France, Romania, as well as other states. But in the case of the Republic of Moldova the bicameral Parliament might prove to be a very tricky trap.

Noteworthy, the leader of the Unitate-Edinstvo Internationalist Movement launched the idea of a bicameral Parliament in the Republic of Moldova nine years ago. Back then the Movement insisted on a bicameral Parliament: Deputies Chamber and Nationalities Chamber. According to them the latter would have been entitled to veto the laws affecting ethnic minorities’ rights. Political parties claiming to represent ethnic minorities’ rights, such as “Ravnopravie” Socio-political Movement still largely circulate the idea. The idea itself is very dangerous, as any important piece of legislation might be regarded as affecting the interests of ethnic minorities, thus blocking the legislative process. In this case, the President of the country might want to claim as many prerogatives as possible so as to avoid any deadlocks. The previous experience shows that opposition would greatly disagree with such attempts. Another problem is the representation of minorities. If the quotas were to be observed, there would be no need for a Chamber of Nationalities, as minority groups would not hold a majority for the veto, whereas the proportional representation of minorities will be observed in the Deputies’ Chamber anyway.

If the said Chamber were to represent the regions then things would be even more complicated. Firstly, it is to be expected that Tiraspol leaders will ally with Comrat for an equal representation of regions in the Superior Chamber so as to totally control it. Otherwise, again there are no reasons for a bicameral Parliament, as it would only generate corruption. From this point of view, Braghis Alliance initiative to elect the Parliament in single-mandate constituencies would have allowed for an adequate representation of the regions in unicameral Parliament, however it was boycotted by the Communists.

In a related note, the recent resignation of the Gagauz Bashkan, Dumitru Croitor, is seen by many experts as an excellent political maneuver, which would enable him to gain grounds, by supporting increased independence of the Gagauz-Yeri, and non-interference of the central authorities in the autonomy’s business. That is why the Prime-Minister Vasile Tarlev predicts him an outstanding career. It is believed that Chisinau would like to get rid of Croitor by sending him as an ambassador to some country.

The above said, indicates that Gagauz leaders will speculate the recent conflict so as to negotiate a similar status to that which might be offered to Transdnistria. After the return to the rayon administrative-territorial division it is no longer possible to grant special autonomy to Gagauz-Yeri or Transdnistria, entitling them to more rights than the rayons. And this because it is not possible to have in one state three levels of autonomy with equal representation in the Superior Chamber of Parliament: rayons, Gagauz autonomy and Transdnistrian Republic. The case of Yugoslavia shows that federations based on ethnic criteria, including subjects enjoying different prerogatives are not stable and collapse at the very first tensions. That is why, the idea of relative equality of the three subjects: Republic of Moldova, Transdnistria and Gagauz-Yeri should be accepted.

At the same time it is very unlikely Moldovan authorities would agree to a symmetric federation having regional governments in all three subjects and a single unicameral Parliament at the national level.

That is why, the idea of bicameral Parliament would only further confuse the situation and generate political instability.

Modernization of the Governing Party Cooperation between NGOs and political parties