The proposals to amend the Electoral Code and related legislation were approved by the Decision of the Central Electoral Commission

  • 14.06.2022
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During today's meeting, June 14, 2022, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) approved the proposals to amend the Electoral Code as well as some normative acts. They aim to improve the electoral and related legislative framework, including by solving the deficiencies indicated by the Constitutional Court in its addresses, complying with the opinions of the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR, implementing the recommendations formulated by the national and international election observation missions.

The adoption of the CEC decision was preceded by an extensive consultative process, with the participation of electoral subjects interested in the need to review and improve electoral legislation and procedures: political parties, central and local public administration authorities, civil society, and development partners.

In this context, among the main innovative provisions for the electoral process in the Republic of Moldova can be mentioned:

Setting the date of the election for one day, Saturday instead of Sunday. At the same time, by way of derogation from the general rule, elections in some constituencies or polling stations can be held, for objective reasons, over two days (Friday and Saturday).

It is proposed to reduce the number of members of the Commission to 7 people and ensure the permanent activity of all CEC members during the mandate. In addition, the mechanism for nomination of commission members was revised and the term of office extended to 7 with the possibility of exercising it for a maximum of 2 mandates. Regarding the establishment of polling stations abroad by the CEC, this will be done with the prior opinion of the MFA, which will only refer to the fulfillment of the condition aimed at obtaining the consent of the competent authorities of the respective country, as well as the possibility of insurance from the technical and logistical points of view the voting process.

Also here, it was proposed to revise the grounds for the establishment of polling stations abroad, emerging from the main criterion, the dynamics of voter participation at the polling stations abroad in the last 3 elections. In addition, it will be taken into consideration the preliminary registration and the information submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the number and location of citizens of the Republic of Moldova abroad.

Clear principles have been established regarding the financing of the activity of initiative groups and the financing of electoral campaigns.

The proposals refer to ensuring the implementation of transparent electoral campaigns from a financial point of view by obliging commercial banks to open free accounts marked "Electoral Fund" for all competitors, without discrimination. Other aspects relate to the removal of previously existing uncertain and interpretable situations in the part related to the transfer of own financial means or from the account of subsidies from the state budget in support of political party campaigns, as well as the clarification of information that constitutes personal data, from the perspective of ensuring financial transparency.

With regard to the Voters’ Lists, the proposals aim to strengthening the regulations regarding the State Register of Voters and the clear definition of the respective notion, including the exhaustive enumeration of the types of information included in the Register. It is proposed to prepare Voters’ Lists for elections in two stages – 22 days before Elections Day, later after their verification, with at least 7 days until Elections Day. This will solve the practical shortcomings related to the changes made in the lists following the carried out verification, as well as expand the possibility of access of voters and other authorized subjects to the information in the lists.

In the context of the nomination and registration of candidates, it intervenes with the establishment of clear terms and principles for the registration of electoral blocs, the improvement of signature collecting procedures and the exhaustive regulation of the grounds for invalidating subscription lists (total) or their signatures is suggested. As an alternative, it is proposed to submit a financial guarantee in exchange for the obligation to collect signatures, but also to reduce the number of signatures required to run for mayor, from 5% to 1%, but not less than 100 signatures.

With reference to the institution of the electoral campaign, it is proposed to exclude the prohibition to use images representing state institutions or public authorities in the country, national symbols of the Republic of Moldova or historical figures in the country in electoral agitation materials and actions, in electoral programs. The prohibition will refer only to foreign official persons, state institutions or public authorities abroad or international organizations, except in cases concerning the commitments assumed by the Republic of Moldova based on international agreements with the European Union. Also here, it is proposed to change the duration of the electoral campaign, so that this duration is equal for everyone, i.e. it "will start no earlier than 30 days before the voting day and will end on the date of cancellation of the registration of the electoral competitor or on the previous day on the day of voting".

In the context of the regulation of the voting process, it is proposed to reduce the time of mandatory voting in all polling stations by one hour, i.e. until 20:00. The diminushing is compensated by the possibility of extending the voting time by three hours only in the polling stations where it is necessary. It is also proposed to allow the citizens to vote, regardless of the type of ballot, based on one of the following identity documents: the identity card of the citizen of the Republic of Moldova, the provisional identity card confirming the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and the passport of the citizen of the Republic of Moldova. In the context of the goal of digitalizing electoral processes, it is proposed to abandon the control stamp.

In the part related to the coverage of the elections, the general principles regarding the coverage of the elections are established and it brings clarity regarding the particularities of the coverage of the elections by the media institutions. For the infringements of the electoral and audiovisual legislation, it is proposed to institute gradual sanctions: the removal of the right to broadcast or publish information about the coverage of the elections for a period of up to 3 days; fine of up to 100,000 lei; withdrawal of the right to broadcast or publish paid commercial or electoral advertising for a period of up to 7 days; termination of the media service provider's right to cover the events from the election period or campaign.

Regarding the judicial procedures, it is proposed to revise the chapter in the part of clarifying and detailing the procedures related to the examination and resolution of appeals. In this sense, the adjustments are aimed at correlating the provisions of the Administrative Code with those of the Electoral Code in order to remove the deficiencies and conflicts of competence that exist at this moment. It is proposed to regulate in more detail the object of an appeal, to standardize the deadlines for their submission and examination, to determine, including by extension, the powers to examine appeals by the electoral bodies.

In parliamentary elections, it is proposed to extend the maximum number of persons, up to 111, that can be included in the electoral list of a political party or electoral bloc of parties and to offer a unique and uniform possibility to modify the list of candidates or to withdraw from the race no later than 10 days until Elections Day. For independent candidates, it is proposed to diminish the threshold of representation in the Parliament to 1%.

In the Elections for the position of President of the Republic of Moldova, it is proposed to supplement the conditions to be registered as a candidate – having the necessary studies (higher education, graduated with a bachelor's degree or equivalent). It is also proposed to establish a clear mechanism for verifying knowledge of the Romanian language, one of the conditions established by the Constitution.

For local elections, it is proposed to change the competence to confirm the legality of the elections and, respectively, to validate the mandates of local elected officials, by delegating these tasks to the District Electoral Councils.

Another innovative element concerns the revision of the special conditions for candidates for the position of mayor - the revision of the age required to run for office, from 25 to 23 years.

It is also proposed to supplement the conditions of holding the necessary studies (secondary specialized studies or higher studies, graduated with a bachelor's degree or equivalent) which are necessary for occupying any position of public dignity.

In the case of the referendum, the innovation of the proposals consists in reducing the number of citizens to initiate legislative or consultative republican referendums. At the same time, it is proposed to change the text of the answer to be chosen by the voters in the referendum, namely that the words "For", "Against" in the ballot be replaced by the answers "YES", "NO". The registration of all initiative groups for the initiation of the referendum will be carried out by the Central Electoral Commission.

The decision approved by the Commission will be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the Parliament for examination of the opportunity to amend the electoral and related legislation.