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Venice Commission adopts opinion on when to dissolve the parliament of Moldova

Venice Commission adopts opinion on when to dissolve the parliament of Moldova

At its 82nd plenary session on 12 to 13 March 2010 the Venice Commission adopted an amicus curiae brief for the Constitutional Court of Moldova. The President of the  Court made a request on 7 December 2009 for an opinion regarding a case brought by a group of deputies of Parliament on the interpretation of the articles in the Constitution on the election of the President and on the dissolution of the Parliament of Moldova. They allege that these articles could give rise to uncertainty with respect to the timing of the dissolution of Parliament by the President of the Republic.

The Venice Commission is of the opinion that the Article on the dissolution of Parliament applies to the situations set out in the Article on the election of the President. A dissolution of Parliament can therefore not take place twice within one year, even if Parliament fails to elect the president twice. According to the Commission, the words "in the course of a year" should be interpreted as meaning one year, counting from the last dissolution of Parliament and not within one calendar year. This means that Parliament could be dissolved at the earliest on 16 June 2010. The Commission underlines that following this date, dissolution must take place within a reasonable timeframe.

In its opinion the Commission underlines both the urgency of amending the constitutional provision on electing the President and the need to do so in full compliance with the requirements of the current Constitution.

In addition, the Commission noted its earlier proposal on constitutional reform, which is fully in line with the requirements of the current Constitution and seems  capable of obtaining the broadest possible consensus. It contains the following elements:

    • A proposal to revise Article 78 of the Constitution making it easier to elect the President, which should be agreed as soon as possible by the leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament. Such an agreement could be witnessed by representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Union.
    • The proposal could provide for a lower majority in Parliament to elect the President as from the third round of voting or for a direct election of the President by the people.
    • The proposal should be voted by the current Parliament as soon as possible following its approval by the Constitutional Court, but would take effect only for the next Parliament.
    • Parliament should be dissolved after this vote. This would still be in accordance with the requirement of dissolving Parliament within a reasonable timeframe, since it is justified by the need to enable parliament to make the decision necessary to overcome this crisis situation.
    • A more comprehensive revision of the Constitution could take place during the term of office of the newly elected parliament.

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication


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