Referendum on Moldova’s Course to Be Held Along with Presidential Elections

Home / Politics / Referendum on Moldova’s Course to Be Held Along with Presidential Elections
Presidential election and referendum on the same day. The project is being prepared by deputies of the ruling majority, who approved an amendment to the Electoral Code. “Do you favor or oppose European integration?” - this question will most likely have to be answered in the plebiscite. The idea has made the opposition, which has already announced the preparation of an appeal to the Constitutional Court, very angry. The Communists and Socialists claim that the draft does not take into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission and has only one aim - to support Maia Sandu at the presidential elections. The amendment to the Electoral Code was on the agenda of yesterday’s session. It stipulates that presidential and parliamentary elections can be held on the same day, which has been forbidden by the electoral legislation so far. However, the amendment proposed by PAS prohibits the organization of a national referendum and general local elections on the same day. Ruling party MPs say they have received a favorable opinion from the Central Election Commission and that such practices are well known in European countries. “There are two decisions of the Constitutional Court, lawyers say so, which authorize, not prohibit, the holding of a referendum along with other elections except local ones. - Some analysts claim that this will benefit to Maia Sandu? - Yes, they are all pro-European now, come on! There will be no space, everyone will crowd there,” replied Parliament Speaker Igor Grosu. Opposition MPs criticize the changes and call them unconstitutional. In addition, they claim that due to this amendment the authorities will try to attract more votes in favor of President Maia Sandu’s new term in office. “For the umpteenth time we are witnessing the abuse of a change in the legislation with the sole purpose of providing Maia Sandu with another mandate as the country’s president. And now, almost through these abuses, without the opinion of the Venice Commission, when amending the Electoral Code, Maia Sandu shows her weakness and her realization that she will legally and honestly lose the next mandate of the head of state,” says BCS MP Vlad Batrincea. PAS deputies reject the accusations and claim that the changes comply with the letter of the law. “We have several decisions of the Constitutional Court, which confirm that it is constitutional to hold such a referendum along with the presidential elections. It was necessary to amend the law, and colleagues proposed this amendment. This is an international practice, in most European countries the referendum is held together with other elections, we are not reinventing the wheel. Opposition’s statements are just political rhetoric. By the way, they used to say that we need a referendum. Here is the referendum, you are welcome,” says PAS MP Radu Marian. TV8 journalists asked the Central Election Commission for comments on the proposed amendment. “We have been through this before. We had a similar experience when parliamentary elections were held together with a republican referendum - on 24 February 2019. Then it was possible to organize these two types of voting simultaneously on the same day, with the results confirmed by the Constitutional Court. Any election implies expenses, thus, if they are held on the same day, we can talk about saving the state budget,” CEC Secretary Alexandru Berlinschi replied. Previously, Maia Sandu asked parliament to approve the organization of a referendum on Moldova’s accession to the European Union. The plebiscite may take place in autumn. At the same time, the president said that she would run for the president’s post again. Some political analysts claim that holding the referendum at the same time as the presidential election may be a pre-election strategy of the head of state aimed at getting more votes.