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PSRM brought a no-confidence motion in the Parliament criticising the Government. What’s next?

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Just a few hours ago, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) brought a no-confidence motion in the Parliament criticising the Government handling of the justice reform, namely the amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office presented to legislature by the political bloc ACUM. 

The discussions in the Parliament

The socialists declared that the amendments proposed by ACUM endangers the independence of the Prosecutor’s Office and the independence of the justice.

“Maia Sandu ignored all good practices regarding the appointment of an independent prosecutor, ignored the constitution of the country and the opinion of the Venice Commission, preferring not to wait,” said the PSRM member Vasile Bolea.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Maia Sandu gave a speech in front of Members of the Parliament (MPs), in which she argued the position of ACUM regarding the amendment to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, stating that this is the best solution for selecting an independent Prosecutor General.

“We made some compromises. We did it to achieve the main objective – an independent Prosecutor’s Office, a fair justice. The fight for the Prosecutor General is the red line.[…] Moldova has gone through several justice reforms. […] And yet the good intentions did not produce a result, being neutralised by hidden political interests. […] I decided to proceed differently. I assume the political responsibility for the process of identifying candidates for the position of Prosecutor General. I will personally identify and verify honest, brave and well-intended people and propose them to the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

In this respect, I am encouraged by the position of the Venice Commission, expressed in other similar situations, according to which the selection of the Prosecutor General must be done in such a way as to obtain the public’s confidence, and the selection of the Prosecutor General with the involvement of the executive and legislative powers would offer more democratic legitimacy of this procedure.

Therefore, according to the Venice Commission, it is reasonable for a government to want to participate in the selection process of the Prosecutor General on the grounds that the fight against corruption is crucial for the proper functioning of the state institutions,” stated Maia Sandu.

After that, the secretary of the PSRM faction, Vasile Bolea, submitted a no-confidence motion in the Parliament, expressing the withdrawal of the confidence granted to the Sandu Government.

The President’s declarations

President Igor Dodon still hopes that ACUM will withdraw the initiative, by which the Executive has assumed responsibility for amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

“There is still a few days for the unconstitutional initiative to be withdrawn. There is still room for reflections and understanding by ACUM that the Prosecutor General cannot be politically subordinated, and the coalition should not be sacrificed on the altar of personal ambitions,” Igor Dodon wrote on Facebook after the Socialist faction submitted the no-confidence motion against the Government in the Parliament.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Prosecutor General is appointed by the President of the Republic of Moldova, at the proposal of the Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP), for a term of 7 years, which cannot be renewed.

The amendments proposed by ACUM include selection by the prime minister, according to the approved procedure, of at least two candidates for the position of prosecutor general and submission of the list to the SCP. Next, the SCP would select one candidate from the list and would propose him/her to the president.

What’s next?

The Permanent Bureau of the Parliament will meet within the next three working days to decide when the next plenary session will be held, at which the no-confidence motion will be examined.

As following, the motion will be debated and voted. It is considered adopted with the vote of the majority of MPs (51). Thus, given that PSRM has 36 MPs, it must be voted by other factions as well. There is a great probability that the motion will be voted by the Democratic Party MPs and/or by Șor Party MPs.

In case the no-confidence motion is adopted,  the prime minister will submit to the President the resignation of the Government within a maximum of 3 days. If the no-confidence motion is rejected, the deputies who signed it will not be able to initiate, at the same session, a new motion for the same reason.

Protest in front of the Parliament

People have united in a protest to support the Sandu Government in front of the Parliament. They gathered and demanded a fair justice. The protesters came up with placards where it was written: “I support the Sandu Government”, “Checkmate – assumed prosecutor” “Independent prosecutor supported by the Parliament” and “It’s a must to have a fair prosecutor”.

source: TV8

source: TV8

Photo: privesc.eu

Important

The desperate call of Moldovan doctors and the reasons why medical system can’t resist too long

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The first medical employee from the Republic of Moldova, Ecaterina Litvinschi – a 79-year-old woman who died because of coronavirus – was buried these days. The woman worked as a medical emergency doctor at at a National Center for Emergency Medicine for about 35 years. According to her relatives’ declarations, she was buried on the edge of a Chisinau cemetery, in a special area where those contaminated with coronavirus were expected to be buried:

sector 277, tomb no. 1

“Historically, those who end their days by suicide were buried on the far side or outside the cemetery. Is that an “honour” attached to a hero doctor?” wondered a relative of the deceased doctor.

Also, the relatives of the medical emergency doctor mentioned that the hospital administration, where the victim was previously hospitalised, insisted to not disclose the fact that Ecaterina was infected being on call to an already infected person, without special equipment and without being warned by the emergency service 112.

Not enough protective measures for medical staff

Out of the currently confirmed 298 cases of infections with COVID-19, 60 are medical workers, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection. Moreover, until two days ago, authorities refused to present information on cases of COVID-19 infection among medical workers, giving assurances that doctors have protective equipment and urging journalists not to seek sensations.

The National Ombudsman Mihail Cotorobai made a request addressed to Prime Minister Ion Chicu, in which he informed about the intention of a high number of doctors to submit letter of resignation due to the lack of the protective equipment, which would provide safe working conditions to the medical personnel.

Mihail Cotorobai asked to urgently identify additional funds to ensure protective measures against COVID-19 contagion, both at the level of hospital medical institutions and at the level of primary health care centres. “The recommended measures are imperative both to ensure the patients’ right to high-quality medical services, as well as to ensure safety of the employees of the health system who are put at major risk of contagion due to non-working conditions,” the Ombudsman said.

Currently, six medical institutions in the country are being involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients. Next week other district and municipal medical institutions will be delegated to hospitalise infected patients. The authorities announced that a triage centre is prepared to be organised at the Moldexpo Exhibition Center. By Wednesday, it will be fully equipped, including with 700 beds.

“The number of confirmed cases is increasing, we reiterate the call to citizens to be very cautious. We are sure that if we follow the rules, we will not allow a jump in coronavirus cases and we will have the capacity to handle the situation. This gloomy scenario can be avoided if we are supportive. It is clear that we will overcome this situation, and the authorities and citizens will make the necessary efforts,” stated the prime minister during a press conference.

The announcement of the prime minister sounded optimistic. More and more desperate calls appear online though, being posted by journalists, politicians, artists, regarding the precarious situation in the medical institutions of the Republic of Moldova. Most of them are made anonymously, as medical workers fear to lose their jobs.

The member of the Parliament Radu Marian posted on social media, on March 28, a message sent to him by a person whose mother works as a nurse at the municipal hospital in Balti (one of the hospitals involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients).

“My mother is scared to go to work. She receives one mask for 24 hours and 2 pairs of gloves without other equipment. They write something else on the paper. It’s like fighting on a battlefield without any weapons. […] I wrote to you as a child who is afraid of losing his mother because of the incompetence of the authorities and because of the situation in the hospitals of Moldova,” is said in the message.

According to the data presented by the authorities, during this weekend, there were reported the most cases of infection per day since the beginning of the epidemic in Moldova.

Not enough resources

Doctor in medical sciences, specialist in Intensive Care, Tihon Moraru called on the authorities to take urgent measures on acquiring the necessary equipment for managing the patients in need for intensive care. He mentioned that in order to be able to provide the necessary treatment to 50-100 critical patients, there is a need of at least 30 to 40 high performance mechanical ventilators, produced in the USA, Germany or Japan.

“I am afraid that we are late by 3-4 weeks, it will be very difficult for the equipment to be brought to the country. This can only be achieved by the authorities of our country and as quickly as possible. […] I believe that the maximum number of hospitalisations for the serious and critical patients will be between the middle of April and the beginning of May, which is why this devices of vital necessity must be brought to the country as urgently as possible. […] They are very necessary for the intensive care units of the country, especially those of the district hospitals of the country, where these devices are outdated,” specified Tihon Moraru.

The Moldovan authorities announced that 200 thousand protective screens and 500 filter masks were purchased in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the purchased protective screens represent only 10% of the announced necessary quantity, while the acquired amount of filter masks cover 25% of the health system current needs, reported ZdG.

Being contacted by ZdG, the manager of the company responsible for acquiring the protective goods said that, at the moment, the company does not have the products in stock, while importing them from China is a complicated procedure that will surely result in delivery delays, given the pandemic conditions.

Not enough tested persons

Another 32 people were lastly confirmed as being infected with the new type of coronavirus, after 246 samples were processed in the laboratory of the National Agency for Public Health, announced the sanatateinfo.md portal. That amounts a total of 5 324 persons who were tested, including family doctors and mayors. Given the exponential growth rate of the contagion demonstrated in other countries, the number of tested persons in the Republic of Moldova can be concluded as being way too low.

Enough Government assurances that “all is kept under control”

For purchasing 200 000 protective screens and 500 000 filter masks, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the allocation of 36 million lei from the reserve fund. “It is a measure to ensure protective equipment for the next period. We have enough equipment, but we are preparing for the second half of April and May,” said Prime Minister Ion Chicu.

At the same time, some district hospitals already have taken decisions of replacing at least a part of their old equipment using their institution budget or by applying to international funds and calling for foreign governments’ donations of protective goods, disinfectants, tests, etc.

Photo: Facebook| Ala Nemerenco

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Important

Media censorship during state of emergency: no personal opinions, no information that is not confirmed by state officials

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In the context of state of emergency declared on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, the president of the Audiovisual Council (AC) of the Republic of Moldova, Dragoș Vicol, issued, on March 24, a provision through which, media outlets from all over the country are obliged to present only the official position of the competent public authorities. Additionally, journalists are not allowed to express their own opinion when reflecting the subjects that concern the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Under the conditions of state of emergency on the territory of Moldova, the official position of the competent public authorities (World Health Organization, the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection) will be presented, those being more knowledgeable and more competent institutions regarding this matter,” is mentioned in the provision published on the AC official page.

In its attempt to fight fake news, sensationalism and infodemic situations characterised by overabundance of information that can create confusion, panic and insecurity, the AC risks to violate freedom of speech, opinated Petru Macovei, the executive director of the Independent Press Association (IPA) cited by ZdG.

These provisions are qualified by Macovei as an abuse in the field of audiovisual media services. “These provisions limit the right of journalists to issue value judgements related to the authorities’ efficiency,” stated Petru Macovei.

This is what the AC provides exactly: “During the period of emergency, the presenters / moderators / editors will unilaterally renounce the unannounced statement and favouring of both their own opinion and free formation of arbitrary opinions when reflecting the topics concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the same time, the regulatory institution affirmed that “the only reliable, truthful, impartial and balanced source of information is that from competent public authorities in the country and abroad.”

During the broadcasts made on the subject COVID-19, the representatives of the authorities should be invited, or at least they should be able to talk over the phone, as well as to present video or audio recordings with the position of a public authority, stated the president of AC for TV8.

In his opinion, everybody should trust the official sources. “Why do you doubt it? Now it is not the proper moment for labelling and considering that someone is hiding the information. I cannot believe that there are tendencies for certain state authorities to hide information,” Dragoș Vicol claimed.

However, experts say it is more about forbidding inconvenient statements and controlling the information flow.

“This decision needs to be reconsidered by the AC because, in its current form, it contains very clear elements of censorship. […] It is important to warn the European Commission about the abuses that occur in the Republic of Moldova under the pretext of state of emergency,” Petru Macovei highlighted.

“Such decisions are counter-productive when referring to the transparency of the authorities and the communication to the public to prevent the spread of the virus and recover the social-economic situation,” mentioned political analyst Dionis Cenușă, arguing that the AC provision still covers important issues related to a correct way of communicating information and dealing with the phenomenon of fake news.

Photo: Wendy Kenigsberg |University Photography

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Education

The possibility to learn online – schools from Moldova are looking for solutions in the context of coronavirus

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As students stopped attending schools due to the measures taken to fight the pandemic caused by coronavirus, the educational institutions from Moldova turn more and more of their attention to the online lessons alternative.

So far, the physical attendance of classes was interrupted in all schools of the country until March 31.

Last week, the methodology regarding the distance continuation of the educational process under quarantine circumstances was approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research of the Republic of Moldova. The guideline aimed to answer the most important questions regarding the further organisation of the educational process. Among the highlighted tools were use of information technologies and digital teaching materials in order to communicate, teach and interact with students.

Some parents have already shared the experience of their children while attending online classes on zoom.us, for example. “This is how a virtual class is organised, in which the teacher sees everyone and asks questions, names the one who has to answer,” specified one of such parents.

“First, it was unusual and loud. After that, children got used to it, followed the rules and it turned to be quite effective. In the afternoon, they do their homework. We film, take photos and provide them to teachers,” added another parent.

The recommended by Moldovan teachers online educational platforms are Zoom.us, Google Classroom, studii.md, Proprofs, socrative.com, learning.apps, Kahoot, quizizz.com, Classtime, Wordwall, ClassTools, Onlinetestpad, Microsoft teams, Learning app, Livresq, etc.

The need of continuation of the educational process made possible the massive adoption of such electronic platforms as studii.md, which is a platform developed with the contribution of UNDP and the Center of Excellence Tekwill, aiming to modernise the education process and gradually transfer it into electronic format.

The platform is currently used by 25 schools, while another 88 educational institutions have requested to be connected to it. Teachers have the opportunity to upload video lessons from their computer or mobile phone, attach teaching materials to homework, leave comments with explanations and observations. Students can address questions in comments, attach files with the tasks to be verified by the teacher. All users have access to electronic agendas and registers, the schedule of lessons, while the administration also has the possibility to generate statistical reports.

Another important educational project initiated in this period is Future Classroom Lab – a pilot project based on a public-private partnership that claims to offer a new concept in pedagogy, “offering an open and inspirational learning space with innovative approaches, using digital technologies,” as the official page of the project describes it.

Within the pale of the project, video tutorials for students preparing for the graduating exams of the summer 2020 session are already posted.

Also, a public TV station announced that it will broadcast the educational video tutorials for final exams preparation, informed the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research representatives.

source: Facebook|Future Classroom Lab

Chisinau City Hall is developing an online library of video lessons recorded in the studios of higher education institutions in the capital city. The online library will be accessible to all beneficiaries of the education system in the municipality, with the possibility of extension for students from all over the country.

The Information and Career Guidance Center of the Technical University of Moldova announced that final exams preparation courses in mathematics and computer science will be continuously organised, the videos being live-streamed on Facebook.

According to the authorities, all educational institutions are equipped with computers. It is provided that teachers who do not have the necessary internet or equipment at home can access the resources in schools, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research claiming that it makes sure, in this period, that each school is equipped with all necessary facilities.

However, there are still children who do not have computers at home or are not connected to the internet all over the country. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 52.3% of Moldovan families have at least one computer at home, those from rural areas having a visible disadvantage when compared to families from cities. At the same time, the same source said that only 41% of the population of Moldova has a computer and 38.7% have internet access.

Still, who knows how fast things can improve driven by the urge to resist in such a volatile environment created by the current pandemic situation. And maybe we could understand, one day, that education can be moved online, at least partially.

Photo: Helloquence |Unsplash

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