26 march

Venice commission frowns at re-writing electoral legislations in election years

The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) have recommended the Moldovan authorities to abstain from changing the national Election Code in an election year. The recommendation has been formulated in their Joint Opinion upon consideration of the Moldovan Democratic Party’s inquiry concerning Moldova’s transition to a mixed electoral system.

In the request submitted to the Venice Commission, it was stated that the draft intended to replace the existing proportional electoral system with a mixed parallel electoral system, under which members of parliament would be elected through single-mandate constituencies [50 MPs] and party lists [51 MPs] in a nationwide proportional constituency.

The Joint Opinion said that the proposed fundamental reform is causing strong apprehensions because it may have serious drawbacks.

The European experts shared the opinion that the said reform may have a negative influence at the local level, where independent candidates in constituencies may be under the influence of local people of business or other actors who pursue their own interests. So, before launching the reform, it should be thoroughly scrutinized with the civil society.

The European experts drew attention to voters in Transnistria and to a considerable number of Moldovans staying in foreign countries, where it is difficult to organize voting through one-mandate constituencies.

At the same time, the experts welcomed the initiative to lower the threshold for political parties to 4% from the current 6%, and called upon Parliament to vote for the Law on political parties and on financing election campaigns.