Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Logic of Power

Here's why Mihai Ghimpu should now be considered the acting President of Moldova:

1. Vladimir Voronin was elected for a four year term as President on April 4th, 2005.

2. Voronin's term expired on April 4th, 2009, however the Constitution requires and allows him to continue on in an acting capacity until the new President takes office.

3. That said, the constitution does not allow the President to hold any other remunerated function, including that of a deputy. Should this occur, the person concerned has 30 days to renounce one or other function. Should he fail to renounce the other remunerated role, the office of the President becomes vacant and the Speaker of Parliament becomes the interim President.

4. Following the April 5th election, Vladimir Voronin, on April 22nd, received from the electoral commission his mandate as a deputy in the new Parliament. He needed to decide by May 22nd whether he would continue on as acting President or as a deputy. He failed to make this election, meaning that the office of the President became vacant.

5. On May 22nd, the office of the (acting) President passed from Vladimir Voronin as former President to Vladimir Voronin as speaker in the new legislature.

6. On August 28th (i.e. yesterday), Mihai Ghimpu was elected as Speaker of Parliament, ending Vladimir Voronin's tenure in that role.

7. As the office of the President is still vacant, it continues to be filled temporarily by the Speaker of Parliament, who is Mihai Ghimpu.

Why is all this important?

a. Following a precedent recently set by the Communists, Mr Ghimpu has the right to propose an interim government for approval by Parliament. Zenaida Grecianai's team can now be replaced by Vlad Filat's, meaning that the country can be effectively governed through the current economic crisis.

b. The President is the commander in chief of Moldova's armed forces and security services. Ghimpu can order the troops currently surrounding Teleradio Moldova to stand down and instead to enforce Parliament's demands that the public television station rebroadcast the next sitting of Parliament.

c. The President enjoys other prerogatives under the Moldovan Constitution which are safer in Ghimpu's hands than in Voronin's.

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