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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. Inquiries at [email protected]

Gagauzia

MP leaves Democratic Party, Moldova Parliament for “New Gagauzia” group

27 April 2018- The Member of the Moldovan Parliament, Nikolay Dudoglo, announced about his withdrawal from the Democratic Party (PDM) and the withdrawal of his MP mandate.

Dudoglo was reportedly asked by the Democratic leadership to choose between his membership in the party and his participation in a new regional political movement “Eni Gagauzia” (New Gagauzia). In a press release of the organization, the Gagauz MP and former Comrat mayor stated that he chose to lead New Gagauzia because “it is time to make Gagauzia a strong region”.

Dudoglo confessed that despite having a fruitful work with PDM members, he abstained from voting for projects that did not coincide with his vision on Gagauzia. His recent activity within New Gagauzia posed a problem for the Democrats:

“The leadership of PDM believes that some of my actions, that I undertook from Gagauzia’s perspective, violate the principles of the party and the European vector of the development of the State”, said the MP.

Dudoglo underlined that he would remain politically active as a “leader” of his people:

“I stay with the conviction that we need to act the way our people want. I am sure that I can fulfill serious tasks, which are put before us by life, being an independent leader of my people (literal meaning nation– Moldova.org)“, concluded Dudoglo, expressing his hope for understanding and support.

New Gagauzia reportedly joined the Democratic Party of Moldova in 2012.

Gagauzia was established in 1994 as an autonomy for around 150 000 Gagauz (Turkish origin) people in the south of the Republic of Moldova. Gagauzia’s leadership is composed of the directly elected bashkan, now Irina Vlah, and the People’s Assembly.

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Politics

Silvia Radu resigns from position of Chișinău interim mayor to participate in elections

25 April 2018- Silvia Radu announced that she would resign from the position of interim mayor of Chișinău. The decision was made after she was registered as an independent candidate in the mayoral elections from May 20th.

“I am leaving the leadership of the City Council to win the elections. I want the changes in this city to go on, to have a European city. I wish that all projects initiated by me continued. They are projects that the city needs”said Radu, mentioning that she would finance her campaign from her family’s money.

The responsibilities of interim mayor would thus go to the vice-mayor, Ruslan Codreanu.

So far, 12 candidates registered for the mayoral race in Chișinău. The elections were announced early because of the resignation of Dorin Chirtoacă, investigated in a corruption case.

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Politics

Ukraine-Moldova joint border control agreement promulgated by Poroshenko, new transport agreement is signed

12 April 2018- The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, promulgated the law on the Agreement on the joint border control in the joint checkpoints of the Moldo-Ukrainian frontier. The promulgation was made in the presence of the Moldovan Prime-Minister Pavel Filip.

The Agreement was previously ratified by the Ukrainian Rada on 1 March 2018, while the first joint control began at the Cuciurgan-Pervomaisk checkpoint, within the Transnistrian segment of the frontier.

According to an official press-release, Filip and Poroshenko set as priorities for the following period the opening of the bridge between Unguri and Boronița, and the activation of the process of demarcation of the Moldo-Ukrainian border.

According to Kyiv Post, the Moldovan PM and the Ukrainian President talked about the negotiation process on the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the functioning of the Dniester integrated hydroelectric complex, but also about the Transnistrian settlement and the Moldovan help to Ukrainian children from Donbas.

On the same day, PM Filip assisted with his Ukrainian homolog, Volodymyr Groysman, at the ceremony of the signing of the protocol on modifying the Agreement between Moldova and Ukraine on the international automobile communications. The move aimed at liberalizing the international goods and passengers transportation between the countries comes at a time of increased trade links (reported 13% increase in 2017). Thus, the automobiles traveling between Moldova and Ukraine (complying with EURO 3 standards) will be not required international authorizations.

The Protocol decision on a 1993 Agreement aims at liberalizing the air transport system by developing the air links, facilitating the activity of airlines, creating conditions for companies that will work between the two countries, writes Mold-street.com.

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