Monday, December 7, 2009

What now?

Following Parliament's failure for a second time to elect a President, we are now back in a similar situation constitutionally to the one we found ourselves in on June 3rd.  According to Article 78 line 5 of the constitution,

  • "If after repeated elections, the (new) President is not elected, the (current) President dissolves Parliament and sets the election date for the new Parliament."

The complication is in Article 85 line 3:

  • "In the course of a year, Parliament can only be dissolved once"

The last time Parliament was dissolved was on the 16th of June.  Taken together, these two articles required the current parliament to function until that date in 2010, and then to be dissolved ahead of new elections.  According to Article 61 line 3, the new elections need to take place within 3 months of the dissolution (i.e. by the 16th of September 2010).

Now, the AIE is keen to have a new constitution approved such that either the President will be elected directly by the people or by a simple majority of deputies.  Constitutionally, there are two ways to change the constitution:
  1. By a 2/3 vote of the deputies in Parliament.  This is almost an impossibility, due to the blocking minority held by the communists.
  2. By a referendum, which the constitution describes as having 'supreme judicial force'.
My counsel to the AIE would be to take their time in drafting a new constitution, and get it right.  Consult civil society groups directly and the general public by using surveys of public opinion on particular points.  To save money and avoid dragging out the Moldovan electorate, the constitutional referendum could be held concomitantly with the September parliamentary election, with the Presidential election to follow.

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