Civil Society response to the outrageous events that took place in the Moldovan Parliament on the 5th of May 2017
Declaration: The parliamentary majority is amending the electoral system by breaching the legislation and common sense, undermining the principles of democracy
5 May 2017
We are dismayed by today’s joined actions of the deputies from the parliamentary parties: Democratic Party (PD), the Socialist Party (PSRM) and the European People’s Party of Moldova (PPEM). They have supported the inclusion in the additional agenda of today’s Parliamentary session of two draft laws that introduce crucial changes in the electoral system. Thus, on the agenda of the Parliament session were introduced to be voted at the first reading the draft no. 60/2017, promoted by PD, and draft law no. 123/2017, promoted by PSRM. The draft law no. 60 proposes the election of 101 deputies within uninominal constituencies (the uninominal system), while draft law no. 123 provides for the introduction of the mixed system (50% on party lists and 50% according to the uninominal system). Both draft laws were voted at first reading and their merging was announced, taking as primary the draft law suggested by PSRM on the mixed electoral system.
None of these draft laws appeared on the Parliament’s agenda yesterday, 4 May. None of the draft laws is accompanied by Government’s opinions or the opinions of parliamentary committees – mandatory requirements imposed by law. After the decision on the introduction of the draft laws in the agenda, the Speaker of the Parliament offered an hour to the parliamentary Legal, Appointments and Immunities Commission to analyze the draft law no. 123. The Government’s opinion is missing from both draft laws.
The today’s voting in the first reading takes place on the eve of the visit to the Republic of Moldova of the representatives of the Venice Commission. Next week, they will come to Chisinau for a fact-finding visit in view of drafting an opinion on the two draft laws, an opinion that was demanded by the Speaker of the Parliament and the former PSRM chairman. After the adoption of the drafts in the first reading, they can no longer be changed conceptually, even if these changes are recommended by the Venice Commission.
Independent opinion polls confirm the lack of popular support for the initiative to change the electoral system, the current electoral system being preferred by most people, despite massive propaganda to change it. Earlier, several civil society organizations have called for withdrawal of the drafts to modify the electoral system. The change of the electoral system is a blow to the rule of law and a significant regression regarding the commitments made by the Republic of Moldova towards the Council of Europe.
The hurry with which the two draft laws, which radically change the way the country is governed, have been introduced into the agenda of the Parliament’s sitting, show only one thing: they aim to promote political interests at any cost, even if this means breaking the law, the democracy and the common sense.
We call on:
a. The Parliament – to respect the law and common sense and to stop promoting the interests of some groups or parties and to act in the public interest according to democratic norms.
b. The development partners of the Republic of Moldova, – to firmly condemn the above actions and to cease any support of the initiatives/requests of the current Government if the Parliament adopts one of the two draft laws.