Moldovan Court Lifts Election Ban for Pro-Russian Party

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Moldova’s Constitutional Court has ruled unconstitutional an amendment to the country’s electoral law banning people affiliated with recognized illegal or unconstitutional parties from standing for election for three years. The court’s decision concerns the ban on members of the Sor party, whose leader, pro-Russian businessman Ilan Sor, is on an international wanted list on charges of stealing a billion dollars from Moldova's banking system. Sor’s party was declared unconstitutional in Moldova, and the amendment overturned by the court was initially used to prevent party members from running in local elections, including one of Sor’s deputies running for mayor in Balti, Moldova’s second largest city. The government will obey the court’s ruling Moldovan parliament speaker Igor Grosu, commenting on the court ruling, said the government would obey it but would make every effort to prevent anyone related to criminal organizations from taking part in the election, Reuters wrote. “We will make adjustments in accordance with the court ruling, but we will not allow criminal groups to seize control of the electoral process and undermine democracy in Moldova,” Grosu claimed. Russia denies Sor’s extradition In April 2023, judges of the Chisinau Court of Appeal sentenced fugitive MP Ilan Sor to 15 years in prison in a case involving the stealing of 1 billion dollors from the Moldovan banking system. According to the ruling, all his assets should be seized in favor of the state. In June 2017, the court of first instance sentenced Sor in this case to 7.5 years in prison, finding him guilty of money laundering and causing damage on a particularly large scale. At the same time, he was released from custody pending final judgement. According to the Moldovan channel TV8, while remaining free, Sor continued to engage in political activity and was even elected to parliament. He left Moldova in 2019 after the change of power. In February this year, Russia refused to extradite internationally sanctioned Sor to Moldovan authorities. The Russian side confirmed Sor’s presence in Russian territory and cited Interpol’s inability to interfere “in political, military, religious and racial issues” in denying extradition.