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Moldova Electoral Commission rejects civic initiative for referendum on abolishing new electoral system



Map of the electoral districts for the 2018 Parliamentary elections, Source: Radio Free Europe based on data of the Moldovan Government

12 January 2018- The Central Electoral Commission of Moldova rejected the initiative for starting a legislative national referendum on abolishing the recently adopted mixed electoral system.

The Commission reportedly found violations of the electoral code in the erroneous registration of participants in the constituent meeting of the initiative group, non-uniformities at the vote counting and decision adoption, choosing an inexact number of members of the initiative group, as well as the change of the electoral law in question. The electoral body claims that the initiative group did not propose new regulations of the elections, thus eliminating the legislation on the Parliamentary elections.

One of the leaders of the initiative group, Ștefan Gligor, thinks that the decision of the Commission is a politically motivated one.

On 21 November 2017, several representatives of different non-governmental organizations announced an initiative of collecting signatures for a referendum on abolishing the controversial mixed electoral system in Moldova. The NGOs expected to collect at least 200 thousand signatures to start the legislative referendum.

The initiators of the referendum think that the Democratic Party changed the electoral system because it understood it would not enter the next Parliament with a 4% public support. According to them, the whole Parliament that adopted the so-called Law nr.154 on the mixed electoral system can be considered illegitimate because about a quarter of the deputies changed their caucuses in the meantime.

According to the new electoral system, 51 MPs would be elected from electoral districts and 50 from party lists. The current edition of the electoral law also stipulates that the electoral districts would be formed by a special Government commission, composed of civil society and political parties’ representatives, as well as representatives of ethnic minorities and expert bodies. The shape of the electoral districts would be published one year before the elections. Voters from Transnistria and from abroad would be represented on the geographical basis, besides their electoral “weight”. 7 electoral debates have been organized to debate the draft on the mixed electoral system, but a large part of the civil society and all opposition parties refused to participate and had little involvement stating that the new system does not address the real problems of the electoral process. The Venice Commission strongly advised the Moldovan authorities not to implement the mixed electoral system at the current moment.

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.


President Dodon’s warning: I will form a National Front of Resistance for all citizens who are against the Union with Romania



The Moldovan Union leaders have recently announced the biggest unionist demonstration since the independence of the Republic of Moldova, which will take place on Sunday, March 25, at 12.00, in the Great National Assembly Square. Thus, the Union leaders invited the Romanian-speaking citizens to ask the authorities on both sides of the Prut to reunite the Romanian people.

The president of the National Unity Block, as well as the President of the Civil Action Platform 2012 in Romania, declared that on March 25, we must show the whole world that on one side and on the other side of the Prut River a union is desirable and that it will be accomplished in 2018.

As a response, today, President Dodon announced that if the situation “will come out of control” on March 25-27, when union actions are announced, then he, as head of state, will form a National Front, which will constitute a platform “of resistance for all citizens of the Republic of Moldova who are against union and want to preserve Moldovan statehood and identity.”

“I will denounce it to the local and foreign authorities involved in the anti-constitutional and anti-state processes that their actions will get the boomerang effect and ultimately will strengthen the Moldovan identity, but at the same time could generate extremely negative reactions towards the central power of Chisinau and to the exponents of the revanchard policy in the neighboring state,” Igor Dodon said.

The head of state declared that the Republic of Moldova and Romania “could remain” state-friends:

“Why do you insist that the citizens’ defense reaction turns them into hostile states?”, added the official.

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Minister of Justice Alexandru Tanase announced his resignation



On Sunday morning, Alexandru Tanase made an announcement on Facebook about his resignation from the position of Minister of Justice.

In his message, the public servant declares that it is in the spirit of the European values for any function of public dignity to be based primarily on public confidence, but if this confidence threatens any initiative, it will not yield the expected result.

Under these circumstances, Tanase concluded that the most appropriate solution in this situation is to end his public career.

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EU Foreign Affairs Council criticizes slow pace of reforms in Moldova, new electoral law and media ownership concentration



EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at the press-conference after the Foreign Affairs Council, Source:

26 February 2018- The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council issued its conclusions on the Republic of Moldova. The conclusions were rather critical of Moldova’s pace and character of reforms.

Speaking after the meeting the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security Federica Mogherini said the decision for the disbursement of the first tranche of the financial assistance for Moldova has not been taken yet and that further assessment will be needed in order the money to be released.

Mogherini who chaired the meeting underlined

“the EU supports Moldova and its citizens, but certain number of measures need to be delivered in order the support to be credible. Our aim is to support the country and the people, and this requires strong and credible national moves by the authorities on anticorruption, reform of judiciary and economic reforms. The two things go together,”

the EU top diplomat said after the meeting, according to OPEN MEDIA HUB. She said information from Moldovan citizens and “certain trends in society” made the EU express its position.

While the EU Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their “commitment to strengthening political association and economic integration between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova” based on the Association Agreement, they also highlighted that it is crucial that Moldovan authorities implement the reforms started in 2016.

 “The Council recalls that EU assistance to the Republic of Moldova is based on strict conditionality, and is linked to satisfactory progress in reforms”, reads the document.

On democracy, multi-party system and human rights

Recalling the importance of respecting effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party system, the rule of law and respect for human rights, the Council welcomed Moldova’s Action Plan on the consolidation of interethnic relations. And then the critical part comes in…

First of all, the Council repeated the concerns of many European officials about the new mixed electoral system, clearly criticizing it:

“The Council regrets that the new electoral law did not address some of the key recommendations of the Joint Opinion of the CoE’s Venice Commission
OSCE’s ODIHR. The Joint Opinion referred inter alia to the lack of consensus on the proposed reform and to the risk that majoritarian candidates may be influenced by businesspeople or other actors who follow their own separate interests”, reads the document, underlining the importance of reforms on party financing and campaign financing.

The Council also encouraged the Moldovan authorities to improve its relations with the civil society in the decision-making process.

A major focus of the Council’s conclusions was on media freedom.

The improvement of the audiovisual code, the transparency of media ownership and the creation of conditions for independent outlets to prosper will be strictly observed, the Council notes in its conclusions. In regard to the anti-propaganda law, the Council “acknowledges that disinformation and propaganda can have considerable negative effects, but it also notes that the measures adopted should be necessary, proportionate and in conformity with the relevant international law”.

On the anti-corruption fight and judiciary, prosecution systems reforms

The Council underlined that “renewed efforts should be urgently dedicated to a more decisive fight against corruption with tangible results, and that this should be accompanied by a thorough reform of the judiciary, including the prosecution service”. It also underlines that this reform process should include thorough, impartial and comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of all those involved in the massive banking fraud that was exposed in 2014. Moreover, the Council believes that a proven track-record of convictions for corruption, in particular, high-level corruption, and respect for the rule of law are key elements to restore the trust of citizens.

While welcoming the recent appointments in the anti-corruption institutions and the adoption of an anti-money laundering law, the Council recalled the importance of setting up an autonomous office in charge of preventing and fighting money laundering and developing capacities to fight laundering and freeze suspicious transactions.

Economic and energy reforms

More positively, the EU Council notes that, despite progress, Moldova needs to do more to improve the business environment. In regard to the DCFTA, the EU expects quite more:

The Council expects the Republic of Moldova to step up its reform efforts related to the implementation and enforcement of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, including by strengthening the operational capacity and independence of the relevant institutions.

On energy, the EU calls on Moldova to fully respect the Energy Community acquis, in particular at tariff setting for energy distribution, but also to accelerate the implementation of the energy sector in line with the EU Third Energy Package and the implementation of interconnection projects.

Several times in the document, the EU stresses that the disbursement of the tranches of the Macro-Financial Assistance will be in strict conformance with the fulfilment of the agreed upon 28 conditions.

Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated the conclusions differently than the EU Council. The MFA press-release reads that the Council took note of Moldova’s progress since February 2016: its achievements in the banking sector, the visa-free regime conditions, the Eastern Partnership contribution and the positive dynamics in the Transnistrian conflict settlement. For the criticisms, the MFA left one small paragraph:

“The text of the conclusions also show the domains where an increased pace of transformation is needed, in particular, the justice sector, mass-media, fighting corruption, investigating the banking fraud”, reads the not-modest press release.

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