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President signs decree to dismiss Agriculture Minister Eduard Grama for corruption charges

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On March 20th, Moldova’s President, Igor Dodon, signed the decree on the dismissal of Eduard Grama from the position of Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry. Previously, Prime-Minister submitted a request of dismissal.

In regard to this dismissal, Dodon commented that he is waiting for more dismissals like this, because “there are many corrupt officials in the Government”:

“I will sign the dismissal of every member of Filip Government. Technocrats, professionals must be promoted, not those on political criteria. I am ready to sign every day decrees of dismissal for the officials of this government”, underlined Dodon.

Investigators found proof of Grama’s involvement in a case of corruption regarding the appropriation of 9,9 hectares of a portion of a land. Additional searches at Minister’s office and home were conducted before Grama himself was arrested by the anti-corruption officers.

The searches are part of the case on the attempts to appropriate 30 hectares of land from Stăuceni suburb of Chișinău, land belonging to the Wine-making and Wine-culture College.

According to an investigation conducted by RISE Moldova, the 4,5 million euros land was appropriated by the businessman Tudor Ungureanu by bribing at least two officials from the Agriculture Ministry. In the context of the investigation, Minister Grama declared that he did not know anything about the business, delegating the responsibility to a former Vice-Minister, but still mentioning that he was offered to participate as well.

In November 2016, 12 persons, including officials, businessmen and lawyers, were arrested in regard to the appropriation of the 30 hectares. They were accused of fraud, passive and active corruption, influence traffic and making false documents.

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

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Civic group restarts initiative for referendum on abolishing new electoral system of Moldova

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Source: Sandu Tarlev, Moldnova.eu

16 January 2018- The civic group that started an initiative for organizing a legislative referendum on abolishing the newly introduced “mixed” electoral system of Moldova announced that it would restart the project.

Rejected by the Electoral Commission, the representatives of civil society announced that they would form an initiative group again to collect some 200 thousand signatures for a national referendum on abolishing the new electoral system. The civic group reportedly filed in court the rejection by the electoral body, but would still start another initiative because they don’t trust the judicial system in Moldova.

In a Facebook post, the Central Electoral Commission of Moldova repeated the motives for rejecting the initiative, but also denounced the political accusations at its image: “The Commission rejects the attacks against the electoral authority and the attempt to discredit the institution”, reads the post.

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.

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Miscellaneous

ZdG: The first Minister who submitted the 2017 wealth declaration, with a legacy of 38,000 euros and a 44,000-euro car

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Finance Minister Octavian Armaşu is the first member of the Government to complete and publish the declaration of wealth and personal interests for 2017. The previous year was a good one for the Armaşu family, which had revenues of 1 155 718 lei, 84 736 euros and $327, writes Ziarul de Gardă.

At the same time, on the bank accounts, at the time of filing the declaration, the family had 766 292 lei, 109 470 euros and 33 446 dollars. Octavian Armasu also declares a legacy of 38,000 euros from Pavel Armasu, who is most likely his father.

In 2017, the minister bought a new Volvo XC60 with 44,727 euros, manufactured in the same year.

According to the cited source, Octavian Armaşu was paid to the minister with 158 734 lei, ie about 13 200 lei. His wife, Elena Armaşu, who is a Moldovan representative of pharmaceutical company “Bayer” SRL, declares a salary that is four times higher, 785,459 lei.

Armaşu family indicates in the act of wealth two apartments, two villas and two garages, properties that he declared the previous year.

The Minister holds shares in Franzeluta SA, BC Victoriabank SA, Banca de Economii SA and Agro-SZM SRL.

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

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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.

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