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Poll: Vlad Plahotniuc- most corrupt politician in Moldova, 49% of Moldovans don’t trust any politician

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The Institute for Public Policy of Moldova published the most recent “Barometer of the Public Opinion” (BOP), a socio-political poll conducted together with CBS-AXA.

According to the poll, 32,5% of Moldovans think the Democrat oligarch is the most corrupt politician in Moldova, being followed by Igor Dodon with 4,9% (cover photo). Nevertheless, 43,9% did not know how to respond, while 7% think all politicians are corrupt.

In case of Parliamentary elections, 26% of Moldovans would vote for the Socialists’ Party, 12,3% for the Action and Solidarity Party. The Platform “Dignity and Truth” and the Democratic Party would get 3,4% and 2,8% respectively. 31,3% declared they don’t know what party to vote for, while 14,2% would not vote.

50,5% of Moldovans don’t understand how the uninominal voting system would work for the Parliamentary elections.

36,9% would favor voting for party lists, 19,1% for a uninominal system, while 16% for a mixed system. 28,1% still don’t know how to answer or probably don’t understand the electoral system in Moldova.

47,2% of Moldovans would vote for joining the European Union in a referendum.

Some 42,4% would vote for joining the Eurasian Economic Union in a referendum.

Only 21,8% would vote in favor of Moldova uniting with Romania, and 56,2% would oppose the move.

Rather shockingly: Some 33% of Moldovans would vote for the union with the Russian Federation. Only 40,3% would oppose the move.

62,3% of respondents answered that Moldova should keep its neutrality as the best solution for the state security.

A federalized Moldova rather scares Moldovans: 38,4% would totally oppose a plan of federalization with Gagauzia and Transnistria as equal subjects with the rest of Moldova. 28,2% would support somehow the federalized state.

Moldovans mostly worry about the prices, the future of their children, the poverty, the unemployment, and the corruption.

As solutions to the country’s problems, Moldovans think first of fighting corruption and changing the government.

Sadly or not, 17,5% would leave Moldova forever if they had the occasion, 31,3% of Moldovans would leave for a period, while 48,5% would not leave at all.

TV remains to be the most popular and trustworthy source of information for Moldovans: 45,9% think of it as of a trustworthy source. 23,6% believe in online sources.

77% of Moldovans believe the things are going in a wrong direction in Moldova.

Thankfully, the Moldovans are more optimistic about how things go in the world: 23,2% think the things are going well, in general.

The Church remains to be the most trusted institution in Moldova with a positive score of 70,7%, followed by the City/Local Council with 40,5% and the Army with 38,2% of trust.

The poll was conducted between 18 November and 5 December 2017 and has an error rate of 2,9%.

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

Economy

The Citizenship by Investment Program in Moldova – embracing great opportunities or risks?

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Dubai, November 5th – The Citizenship by Investment Program in the Republic of Moldova was officially launched at the 12th annual Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Dubai. Since the very first moment when the legislative initiative was registered in the Parliament (December 2016), the law of citizenship by investment gained support, along with a lot of criticism. The government presented the program as an opportunity to attract new investments, whereas the opposition and some experts argued that granting citizenship to foreign investors involves major risks to the state security and could affect the liberalized visa regime with the EU, as reported by Ziarul de Gardă.

The law adoption outlines

The law of citizenship by investment was adopted and promulgated in record time without waiting the results of the anti-corruption expertise report published by the National Anticorruption Centre (NAC). One week after the final voting of the bill, the results of NAC report stated that “the promoted interests through the law of citizenship by investment are detrimental to the public interest, and imply major risks to the safety and security of the citizens and the state of the Republic of Moldova, , in the context of the emigration crisis in EU and the global terrorism threat.”

In March 2018, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure (MEI) has published a decision to amend the Regulation on Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. According to the Transparency International Moldova experts,  the changes to the selection procedure of candidates for granting citizenship were made without public debates and a preliminary notification. The procedure was simplified by omitting the governmental institutions from the examination process.

A series of law amendments came next, enabling the persons who would obtain the Moldovan citizenship by investment to be exempted from the obligation to know the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and to speak the Romanian language. Moreover, the name and other personal data of the candidates would be kept in secret, only the applicant file number being published.

The ex-president of the Parliamentary Commission for national security, defence and public order, Roman Boţan, qualified the amendments as doubtful. “It’s strange that the names of the candidates for granting the Moldovan citizenship by investment is concealed. It is plausible that such investments could come from fraud, and premises of decriminalizing illegal assets could be created,” declared Boţan.

Vlad Ţurcanu, a political commentator and a former presidential adviser, mentioned that the relationship Moldova – EU could be negatively affected in the light of a non-transparent citizenship granting process. Furthermore, such problematic future citizens could create crises which would be very hard to be managed by the Moldovan institutions.

In July 2018, MEI signed a partnership contract with the Moldovan Investment Company (MIC) Holding and with Henley & Partners Government Services Ltd. The stated scope of the contract was the development, implementation and international promotion of the Citizenship by Investment Program. The official MIC Holding website presents neither the name of the founding persons or companies nor the contact address of the holding.

MEI signing the partnership contract with the MIC Holding| Source: mei.gov.md

The Henley & Partners Government Services Ltd appears in an investigation article written by The Guardian that presents the company as doing business with ‘golden’ passports.  “For a few hundred thousand dollars, the right passport, from the right place, can get its owner into almost any country,” is stated in the article. The company was involved in the Maltese program of citizenship by investments and was accused of intimidating the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The journalist examined the scheme of offering the Maltese citizenship but was assassinated in October 2017.

The Henley & Partners’ perspective

In an interview for Newsmaker, the president of Henley & Partners, Christian Kälin and the Group Public Relations Director at Henley & Partners, Paddy Blewer talked about the candidate selection process of Moldovan citizenship granting and the benefits of the program.

First, it is important to mention that the Henley & Partners company, as a part of the MIC Holding, is responsible for the consultancy and the strategy implementation for the Moldovan Citizenship by Investment Program.

When asked about the possible applicants for the Citizenship by Investment Program, Christian Kälin clarified that they would be wealthy people that want to enlarge their possibilities of traveling and moving around the world.

“It is not about a Russian oligarch with lots of money and relationships in the political world. It is more about an UAE citizen who is not sure he wants to stay in his country in the next 15 years or an American citizen that can’t enter an Arabic country using his American passport and needs the second citizenship for security reasons.”

According to Kälin, the applicants would be interested in being protected and moving around, not tax evasion. He admitted that among the beneficiaries of the program could be not well-intended people: “It’s like in the bank. There are thousands of clients and among them there could be 5,7,10 delinquents. Still, that’s not a reason for the bank to cease its activity.”

“The most important benefit for a country that implements a program of citizenship by investment is the possibility to attract new investments,” as Paddy Blewer stated. In the case of the Republic of Moldova there is a possibility, at the moment, to invest in the Public Investment Fund. The law of citizenship by investment stipulates for now only the opportunity of real estate investments, according to Christian Kälin. He also added that the real estate sector is a key one in the economy of any country and that most programs of granting citizenship in return for investment provide such a component. “Real estate investments have a considerable positive effect on the economy of a country. They increase the number of transactions and develop the construction industry. The real estate sector has many intersections with other sectors of the economy. Thus, it will be a driver of job creation,” said Kälin.

According to the officials’ declarations at the Moldova Business Week of this year, the industries that should have priority when it comes to investments in Moldova are the tourism and information technologies sectors. Also, the automotive and manufacturing industries need the government’s support in order to be developed as the country’s strategical sectors.

The expert’s perspective

The expert and activist Sergiu Tofilat explained for Moldova.org several important aspects regarding the law of citizenship by investment. First, “some European countries are trying to attract investment by selling citizenship. Such programs are interesting for wealthy people who want to be able to travel visa-free in the EU and the US, who would like to easily open bank accounts in western banks,” said Tofilat. He highlighted the serious issues in verifying the source of the ‘invested’ money for acquiring citizenship, but also national security issues when different criminals or terrorists get foreign citizenship.

In case of the Republic of Moldova, “there are problems related to politically subordinate justice, labour shortages, the lack of predictability of public policies as when the government changes the law, and this affects the business environment that can’t plan its activity for at least 3-5 years,” as Tofilat mentioned. Taking into consideration these circumstances, “the Citizenship by Investment program raises suspicions of money laundering, especially since nothing of the stolen billion has been recovered,” stated Tofilat. He indicated that the program in question must be analysed together with the so-called tax amnesty law, which allows the legalization of any dirty money for a 6% tax. “As a result, the beneficiaries of the bank fraud can decriminalize their money through certain foreign citizens who will receive citizenship by granting loans to the Moldovan Government, after which the new Moldovan citizens will benefit from the tax amnesty,” explained Tofilat.

“The authorities stated that the objective of the citizenship program is to attract foreign investments in Moldova. It is absurd to believe that foreign investors queue up for investing their money in Moldova and that getting citizenship is the biggest obstacle for them.”

According to the Tofilat’s opinion, “a special attention should be paid to the dangerous similarities of the Moldovan program with the programs in Hungary and Malta.” Just as in the case of Hungary, the names of those who will receive the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova will be classified under the pretext of protecting their personal data.

An international inquiry from September 2018 revealed that especially Russian officials are interested in receiving the Hungarian citizenship for being able to travel without any visa and to leave Russia in case they need it.  “It’s the case of Russian deputies, heads of state-owned enterprises, and even Serghei Naryshkin’s family, the head of the Russian espionage service, who received the citizenship of Hungary. This happened despite the fact that some officials appear on international sanctions lists,” specified Tofilat.

Featured image source: anticoruptie.md

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Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase met with Johannes Hahn: The European Union will closely monitor the electoral process in Moldova

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The PAS leader Maia Sandu and PPDA leader Andrei Nastase met with Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Negotiation for Enlargement, in Strasbourg.

According to Maia Sandu, during the meeting, the most important topic on the agenda of the society was addressed – the need to ensure free and fair elections.

“I informed the official of the growing and increasingly frequent abuses of the government, the hallucinatory allegations of homeland betrayal launched by the ruling party to the opposition, the unprecedented measures of intimidation and harassment of all those who do not obey the regime,” declared Maia Sandu.

The PAS chairman said that the leaders of the ACUM resistance movement were assured that the EU will closely monitor the electoral process in the Republic of Moldova and will do its utmost to determine the government’s compliance with the international standards for free and fair elections.

“We have also discussed that corruption is the major impediment to democracy and prosperity in our country,” Sandu added.

This week, PAS Leader Maia Sandu and PPDA President Andrei Nastase are in Strasbourg, in the European Parliament, where they have submitted the ACUM 50,000 signatures petition asking for EU assistance in investigating the theft of a billion dollars.

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Important

Derek J. Hogan: Russia may get involved in the upcoming Moldovan parliamentary elections // VIDEO

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The Russian Federation may be involved in the Moldovan parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019. The statement was made on Tuesday, December 11, by the US Ambassador to Moldova, Derek J. Hogan, during an official visit to the city Balti, writes Nordnews.md.

The US diplomat met with deputies Gennady Shmulschii and Lilia Sava.

In addition to representatives of the local public administration, Hogan also met with representatives of political parties in the territory.

“I do understand that you’re on the eve of the parliamentary elections and so I wanted to know how the process is going on here,” said Derek J. Hogan.

Derek J. Hogan has also mentioned that it is possible for the Russian Federation to intervene in the elections of February 24, 2019, just as it happened in the United States in 2016.

“We believe that the involvement in a country’s internal affairs is not a rarity. As you  already know, this has also happened in the US and we believe that it is very likely to happen here as well. So, we work very actively with authorities and political parties in order to inform them about our experience,” the US diplomat noted.

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