3 Oct 2023 21:44

Moldovan CC lifts ban on members of unconstitutional parties from running for office

CHISINAU. Oct 3 (Interfax) - The Constitutional Court (CC) of Moldova has ruled that an amendment to the Electoral Code which banned senior members and elected officials from political parties declared unconstitutional (as the Shor Party was on June 19, 2023) is unconstitutional.

The decision was made after the court examined a second application from former Shor parliamentarians who have become independents since the party was banned.

The amendment banned the election of "people who at the time of the CC ruling on the unconstitutionality of a political party were its executive members, and members of a party ruled unconstitutional who held elected office for five years prior to the CC ruling."

Reading out the motives for the CC's ruling, Justice Serghei Turkan said that the amendment, which was approved by parliament, "lacked objective criteria and was too generic." Nor did it provide guarantees that the right to stand for election and be elected is respected.

Between the first and second parliamentary readings, the ban's validity was extended from three to five years without due cause, Turkan said. In addition, the criteria for imposing a ban for just two statutory categories (a party's senior members and elected officials), failed to account for the extent of their involvement/complicity in the unconstitutional element of their party activities.

The CC deemed this approach disproportionate and found the amendment to be unconstitutional. Its decision is final. Two of its five judges (Nicolae Rosca and Liuba Sova) voted against the decision, having expressed a "special opinion."

On June 19, the CC ruled that the Shor Party was unconstitutional because of its opposition to the principles of the rule of law, the sovereignty and independence of Moldova, and for receiving illegal funding.

At the same time, the CC allowed Shor's parliamentarians to retain their seats, but not join other factions. All Shor members who hold elected office, such as the heads of local administrations, district councils, local councillors (rural council members), and the governor of the Gagauz Autonomous Region, will continue to serve as independents without the right of association with the party. The CC's decision annulled Shor's lists of candidates for parliament and other government bodies. This means that in the event of a suspension of an ex-Shor parliamentarian or councillor for any reason, the next candidate on the party list will not be appointed as a replacement. These offices will remain vacant until an elected body completes its mandate.

A number of former Shor leaders have already filed applications for registration as independent candidates for town and rural mayors in local elections due on November 5.