25 november, 2016

On Friday, the Moldovan Parliament passed the Law on introducing amendments to the Constitution. According to them, Prosecutor General in Moldova shall be appointed by President. The constitutional amendments were approved unanimously by the 84 MPs present in the session room – in the first and second readings straightaway.

According to the new provisions, Prosecutor General is appointed by the head of state on the proposal by the Superior Council of Prosecutors for a 7-year term of office – without the right to a second term. Previously, Prosecutors General used to be appointed by the Parliament on the Speaker’s proposal for 5 years.

Deputy Minister of Justice Nicolae Esanu said presenting the bill to the legislature that the new provisions are aimed at realization of the judiciary reform, at meeting Moldova’s commitments to the Council of Europe and the European Union, and at ensuring the Prosecution service’s genuine independence.

Liberal Party Chairman Mihai Ghimpu disagreed with the deputy minister.

“You are mistaken in your assertion concerning the independence of the would-be Prosecutor General. His appointment does not at all mean a guarantee of independence, and the results of the November 13 presidential voting are evidence to this. Don't mislead the society. The next Prosecutor will depend on the Socialists, whose leader [Igor Dodon] has won the presidential election, whereas the independence of the Prosecutor General must depend only on him and on the law”, stated Mihai Ghimpu.

MP Vlad Batrincea of the Party of Socialists [having the largest faction in the Parliament] stated in response: “Everything shall be like the people of Moldova want, not like Ghimpu desires”.

“The Moldovan people have elected a president they trust in, right? I am sure Igor Dodon will appoint a worthy Prosecutor who will act according to the law”, said Vlad Batrincea.

Liberal MP Ion Casian remarked that nothing is said in the proposed amendments concerning what will be if the President rejects two times the candidacy for Prosecutor General proposed by the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

Deputy Minister Nicolae Esanu explained that this could well be specified in the law, but not in the Constitution.

“Actually, the legislation currently in force does not stipulate how one should act in this case. By the law, the President supervises how the Prosecutor appointment procedure is observed, and completes it. But he nay not interfere into the process, and may not decline a candidacy or offer another one. All this is done exactly for ensuring the independence of the judiciary power from the legislative and executive powers”, said Nicolae Esanu.

Socialist MP Vladimir Turcan voiced surprise that in the conditions of a new law and new constitutional provisions, the composition of the Superior Council of Prosecutors has remained unchanged and, moreover, the Council has recently announced a contest to select its new chairperson.

“What kind of a reform will this be if the new Prosecutor General, to head the national Prosecution service next 7 years, is appointed by the previous lineup of the Superior Council of Prosecutors?” wondered Turcan.

The Deputy Minister of Justice explained that the legislation does not stipulate any restrictions of the Council’s office length.

“Besides this, we observe the rules of the Council of Europe saying that the chairperson’s 7-year mandate should not coincide with the Parliament’s mandate”, said Nicolae Esanu.

The Law was then voted for in a final reading, and will come into force upon promulgation by the President and publication in the Monitorul Oficial governmental bulletin.

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