Moldova – Ministers may remain parliamentarians for six months

Deputy ministers shall be leaving together with their bosses.

Cabinet members shall be eligible to combine their positions of a minister and a member of parliament for up to 6 months, as per the amendments to the Law on the Government that were adopted by the Moldovan Parliament today.

The legislative initiative author, MP Mihai Godea of the LDPM faction, said, “Actually, these are going to be only minor amendments to the legislation. Such provision existed in the law in the past, too, but it only stipulated instances when a deputy was going to work in the Government ‘temporarily’. Now we are proposing to fix this rule legally and to indicate a concrete timing of such combination of posts – 1 to 6 months”.

The Communists strongly criticized this initiative. MP Yury Stoikov offered a supposition that “the incumbent Government members have apprehensions that the ruling Alliance for European Integration may split up at any moment, so the Government may be dissolved. They want to have guarantees that in such case they will have the right to return to parliament”.

His party comrade MP Vadim Mishin stated, “The law may not be retroactive. The incumbent Government members must have resigned as members of parliament yet on September 25, so no matter the law in questions is adopted or not, they must resign. And the provisions we are debating today must apply only to future parliaments and governments”.

Yet the AEI parliamentarians who defended this initiative let the opposition understand that the new legal provision may be used by incumbent ministers as well. For instance, Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who is still a parliament member, stated in parliament today, “The time defined by the legislation has not expired yet. Accordingly, it may be extended. May I assure you that none of the ministers concerned shall be receiving two salaries”.

By a majority of votes, the AEI parliamentarians approved the proposed amendments in two readings straightaway.

In the incumbent liberal/democratic Government of Moldova, nine ministers are simultaneously members of parliament. Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca is in an analogous “incompatibility situation”, too. As a matter of fact, Chirtoaca, who is the Deputy Chairman of the parliamentary Liberal Party, has tendered resignation in law-stipulated time. But his application has not yet been discussed or put to the vote by parliament.

Today, the Communists once again raised this question. MP Anatoly Zagorodny stated, “As Mr. Chirtoaca has been violating the law the for a second month now, remaining a parliamentarian, we are hereby addressing officially to the Chisinau Municipal Council [city legislature] and the Central Election Commission, drawing their attention to this crying violation of legislation, and we are demanding to declare the mayor’s post vacant and announce a mayoral election date”.

In Moldova, deputy ministers shall now on be resigning together with ministers, and, like their bosses, shall be crossed out from the list of civil servants, as per the amendments to the Law on the Government passed by the Parliament on Tuesday.

Also, the Parliament passed, in the second reading, amendments to the Code of Television and Radio Broadcasting, which stipulate that members of the Audiovisual Coordinating Council (ACC) and of the Supervisory Board of the Teleradio-Moldova public company shall be elected by a simple majority of parliamentarians’ votes, and that the ACC and Board chairpersons shall be elected not by two-thirds but by a simple majority of these watchdog organs’ members.

The Communists criticized the decisions, claiming “They are being approved in haste and without consultations with or an expert examination by European partners – procedures that are absolutely necessary in the conditions of the changes being proposed”.

However, Corina Fusu, the Chairwoman of the parliamentary Standing Committee for Culture, Sciences, Education, Youth Affairs and the Mass Media, stated that these are urgent measures that cannot be delayed any further because the Teleradio-Moldova, a de-jure public service broadcaster, fails to serve public interests whatever, while the activities of its Supervisory Board have been blocked for over 10 months by now.

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