Parliament Approved Electoral Code Amendments in the First Reading

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On Thursday, Parliament adopted amendments to the Electoral and Administrative Codes in the first reading. One of the authors of the amendments, socialist Vasile Bolea, presenting the draft in parliament, noted that the amendments aim to “reduce working hours of polling stations (which will work two hours less from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and not from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., as before); introduce sanctions for participating in the election campaign of religious cults, non-profit charitable organizations and trade unions, for the incorrect coverage of the campaign in the media; introduce sanctions for organizing mass transportation of voters to polling stations,” reports. The reduction in voting time sparked criticism from the opposition. PAS deputy Sergiu Litvinenco recalled that “initially, such a reduction implied a two-day vote, which is not provided for by the current draft”. “No need to refer to non-governmental organizations that proposed reducing the time of voting. They proposed to do this only in case of voting during two days,” Litvinenco emphasized. Pro Moldova deputy Sergiu Sîrbu also noted that “the amendments give the CEC the right to exclude a candidate from the race, although previously this was an exclusive prerogative of the court.” “This proposal is unconstitutional. Such amendments compromise the future electoral process in advance. In fact, it is proposed to exclude judicial instances from the process and empower the CEC to exclude from the race, whose members are appointed on a political basis. This means that someone wants to be sure in advance that he will be able to exclude competitors from the election race,” Sirbu said, stressing that if this amendment is adopted, it will be challenged in the Constitutional Court. PSRM vice-speaker Vlad Batrincea in response to criticism noted that “the amendments are introduced at the suggestion of the CEC, which is currently headed by a PAS representative (Dorin Cimil – I.”)”, and regarding the two-day voting he said that this will require additional significant financial investments, and critics should first of all “answer where to get this money from.” The deputies agreed to introduce all the proposals to improve the bill in order to discuss them in detail when adopting in the second-reading.