Archive for October 17th, 2017

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Constitutional Court in Moldova rules against President Dodon

October 17, 2017

Early elections in 2018 may well have been avoided by President Poroshenko in Ukraine – unless he calls them early for his own benefit.

There are elections for the presidency of the Russian Federation in 2018 too of course.  The result is not in question, but the electoral turnout is.  To win by a predestined 70% (or whatever percentage will be chosen) with a 65% turnout is more comforting for The Kremlin than to have that same preordained electoral percentage based upon a 35% constituency turnout.  Legitimacy is not found in the winning percentage but in the percentage of constituency bothering to vote.  Especially so as it appears parts of domestic policy are going beyond The Kremlin’s control.

2018 also sees parliamentary elections in Moldova.  As a parliamentary democracy these are far more important than the recent election of the Kremlin-friendly President Dodon whose role is almost entirely ceremonial.

That said conventional wisdom perceived Moldova to ruled by Vladimir Plahotniuc, the Moldavian oligarch.  Mr Plahotniuc is prima facie “western facing”, albeit not entirely swift in heading “west” (a direction neighbours Ukraine and Romania would like to see maintained).

Ergo, if perceptions be true and Mr Plahotniuc does indeed run Moldova, then a reader may ponder whether President Dodon was allowed to win the presidential election because the position of President in Moldova is weak and therefore of no interest to Mr Plahotniuc and his grip upon the nation, or whether it was orchestrated with his blessing that he won to give the perception of some power to the left/Kremlin leaning voters.

Hmmm.

Whatever the case, President Dodon has huffed and puffed, sending love notes to The Kremlin that have produced nothing – which is entirely predictable in an almost entirely ceremonial position.

However, his ceremonial duties he has deliberately not carried out regarding domestic requirements.

The parliament has been waiting since 12th September for President Dodon to officially bless the candidacy of Evgene Sturza as Minister of Defence.  He has refused to do so – twice.

Not only did he refuse to do so, the President put forward his own candidate, General Viktor Gaychuk, and act for which he has no powers.

Thus the parliament turned to the Constitutional Court to interpret Article 98 of the Moldovan Constitution.

17th October witnessed the ruling of the Constitutional Court – “The president should take a neutral position, play the role of arbiter. The president does not have the constitutional power to make personnel reshuffles in the government. The repeated decree on appointing a candidate for the post of minister, presented to the president, is just a formality. The President’s actions related to the fulfillment of his constitutional obligations led to institutional blocking. Thus, the Constitution and the oath brought by the President during his inauguration were grossly violated.  

With his public statements, the president exerted pressure on the representatives of the court. The Constitutional Court views this as an attempt to intimidate.” – Tudor Pantsiru, Chairman of the Constitutional Court.

However, the Constitutional Court went further – “The president’s refusal to carry out his constitutional duties is a temporary impossibility to realize his mandate, therefore it is justified to appoint an acting head of state, chairman of parliament or prime minister, who will ensure the fulfillment of the president’s constitutional obligations. Each case requiring the appointment of an acting person, in connection with the president’s refusal to fulfill constitutional obligations, will be considered separately by the Constitutional Court.”

The inference here is not only constitutional blessing to sideline President Dodon, but also that there are grounds to impeach and remove President Dodon (meaning the Speaker of Parliament would become acting President).

It remains to be seen if President Dodon will now fulfill his ceremonial duties with regard to appointing Evgeny Sturza as Defence Minister and prevent his own impeachment – or not.

Either way, it appears that the parliament will get their Minister of Defence, Evgene Sturza into post.

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