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Moldova’s uninominal electoral districts drafted: 46 inside the country, 3 abroad, 2 in Transnistria

On October 30th, the National Commission for forming the uninominal districts for the mixed electoral system approved by 16 out of 18 votes the structure of these electoral districts.

Only the Socialist MP Vlad Bătrîncea and President’s legal adviser Maxim Lebedinschi objected to the shape of some districts in the north of Moldova and the division of Dubăsari district between one Orhei electoral district and another Criuleni electoral district. In response, the Democrat representative declared, quoted by Newsmaker.md, that the current shapes are needed to contain not more than 65 thousand people. Maria Nedealcov of the Institute of Ecology and Geography also reacted to the objections of the Socialists, saying that the final draft of the electoral map contains all of their proposals: “One should have been present at all the meetings. (…) I will not remake the map”.

In addition, the Socialists were concerned about the lack of additional districts abroad and the lack of shape for the electoral districts in the Transnistrian region, uncontrolled by the Chișinău authorities.

In total, there would be 51 electoral districts:

  • 46 in the “Prut-Nistru” Moldova: two in Gagauzia autonomy, two in Bălți, one in Bulgarian-populated Taraclia district, eleven in Chișinău, and other 30 in the rest of the republic;
  • 2 in the Transnistrian region: 1 electoral district would include Dubăsari, Camenca, Râbnița and Grigoripopol districts, another electoral district would include Tiraspol, Slobozia districts and Tighina/Bender municipality (nobody knows how the elections will be conducted in the uncontrolled territories);
  • 3 abroad for the Moldovan diaspora and migrant workers: one district for states east of Moldova, one district for those West of Moldova and a separate one for US and Canada.

A news outlet even managed to obtain a leaked full report outlining the shape of the future electoral districts.

The intra- and extra-Parliamentary opposition did not participate at all in the process of forming the districts because of their total opposition to the project of the mixed electoral system in Moldova, warning about the dangers stated by the Venice Commission.

According to the new 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.

Politics

Moldova Constitutional Court greenlights introducing “European integration” as strategic objective in the Constitution

On December 11th, the Constitutional Court of Moldova greenlighted the draft law on modifying the Constitution, introducing the orientation towards “the European democratic values space” and setting the “European Integration” as the strategic objective.

The Court found that the constitutional amendment to Article 1 proposed by 36 Democrat MPs corresponds to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in the sense that the orientation towards the European democratic space is a definitive element of the constitutional identity of the Republic of Moldova. The Constitutional Court referred to its previous decision nr.24 from 9 October 2014 when it declared that the Association Agreement with the European Union supports the rupture with the totalitarian Soviet space of values and determined the reorientation to the values of European democracy.

The Constitutional initiative also stipulates that the procedure of joining the European Union would be established by organic law by the Parliament.

The draft law can be adopted only 6 months after the announcement of the Constitutional amendment- 12 September 2017.

President Igor Dodon declared that he would do “anything possible” to not allow this Constitutional amendment get passed. Moreover, Dodon claimed the Constitutional Court would serve the interest of the government, whose amendment about the European Integration would violate the political pluralism principle.

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Politics

NATO Liaison Office inaugurated in Moldova

On 8 December, the new NATO Liaison Office in Moldova was inaugurated with the presence of the NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller, Prime-Minister Pavel Filip, and Foreign Ministry Secretary Daniela Morari.

Before the inauguration, Deputy Secretary-General Gottemoeller and PM Filip conducted a meeting with a focus on the anniversary 25 years of diplomatic relations between Moldova and the NATO, but also on the objectives set by the Individual Partnership Action Plan Moldova-NATO for 2017-2019.

In regard to the role of the office, Filip emphasized that it would help the Government with actions of public diplomacy to explain its dialogue with the Organization. On the other side, Gottemoeller assured that the Alliance respects the neutrality of Moldova and that the Liaison Office has only civilian employees:

NATO fully respects Moldova’s neutrality, independence, and sovereignty, but neutrality does not mean that we cannot be strong partners,” the NATO Deputy Secretary-General said.

In recent years, at the invitation of the Moldovan government, NATO has worked to safely dispose of landmines and hazardous chemicals, to develop advanced medical technologies, to strengthen Moldova’s defenses against cyber-attack, and to improve governance and combat corruption.

President Igor Dodon still thinks that the opening of the NATO Office was made “in a rush” and contradicts the principle of permanent neutrality of Moldova. Moreover, when meeting Secretary Gottemoeller, he suggested NATO signs a bilateral agreement with Moldova on permanently recognizing the neutrality of the latter.

Source: gov.md

The chief officer of the NATO Office in Chișinău, Kristina Baleisyte, is already in Moldova since June 2017.

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Politics

Moldova Parliament adopts law banning foreign propaganda TV shows, Dodon threatens to block it

On December 7th, the Parliament of Moldova approved in the final lecture the draft law on modifying the Audiovisual Code and adding provisions to secure the informational space. The changes were approved with the vote of 61 deputies, with the absence of the Communists’ Party MPs.

The adopted law provides the permission for TV and radio broadcasting of informative, analytical, military and political content that is produced in the countries that ratified the European Convention on Transborder Television, EU member states, US and Canada. The law also stipulates sanctions for broadcasters that violate the law: from fines to canceling broadcasting licenses in less than 30 days by a court.

Most probably, the law is directed against the Russian propaganda TV shows that are rebroadcasted in Moldova through the local franchises.

The Socialist MPs criticized the law as “anti-Constitutional”. The Liberals previously declared that the proposed measures to counteract the Russian propaganda are not sufficient and efficient.

The strongest opponent of the “anti-propaganda law”, President Igor Dodon declared on Facebook that the law not only contradicts the European norms on freedom of speech and expressionthe constitutional right of citizens to access to information but also the incapacity of the government and the Parliamentary majority. Dodon says that he would not promulgate the law under any circumstances.

What is worth noting is that the Democrat oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc owns the most-watched TV channel Prime TV, who rebroadcasts Russian “Pervyi Kanal”, probably the most popular piece of Kremlin’s propaganda machine. Some say that the “anti-propaganda” law might not hit Prime TV so hard because the rebroadcasting contract expires in the second half of 2017.

On the other hand, NTV Moldova, belonging to a Socialist MP and known for best coverage of Dodon, partially rebroadcasts NTV from Russia.

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