CEC proposes to lower the threshold!

The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) approved in today’s meeting, June 14, the proposals to amend the Electoral Code as well as some normative acts. All elections will take place on Saturday instead of Sunday, in the parliamentary elections for independent candidates it is proposed to reduce the threshold of representation in parliament to 1%. Also, for the local elections, for the position of mayor, it was decided to revise the age required to run, from 25 to 23 years, writes Diez.md.

Among the main stable provisions for the electoral process in the Republic of Moldova:

Election date
Setting the election date in one day, Saturday instead of Sunday. At the same time, by way of derogation from the general rule, elections in some constituencies or polling stations may be held, for objective reasons, for two days (Friday and Saturday).

Reduction of committee members
It is proposed to reduce the number of members of the Commission to seven persons and to ensure the permanent activity of all CEC members during their term of office. In addition, the mechanism for appointing committee members has been revised and the term of office has been extended to seven with the possibility of serving a maximum of two terms.

Polling stations abroad
Regarding the establishment of polling stations abroad by the CEC, this will be done with the prior approval of the MFAEI, which will refer only to the fulfillment of the condition aimed at obtaining the agreement of the competent authorities of that country, as well as the possibility of ensuring technical and logistical aspects of the voting process. Also here, it was proposed to revise the grounds for setting up polling stations abroad, based on the main criterion, the dynamics of voter participation in polling stations abroad in the last three elections. Only the pre-registration data and the information presented by the MFAEI regarding the number and location of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova abroad will be taken into account.

Financing of election campaigns
Clear principles have been established regarding the financing of the activity of the initiative groups and the financing of the electoral campaigns. The proposals relate to ensuring that financially transparent election campaigns are carried out by requiring commercial banks to open free “Electoral Fund” accounts for all competitors, without discrimination. Other issues related to the removal of previously uncertain and interpretable situations in the part related to the transfer of own funds or from state budget subsidies in support of political party campaigns, as well as clarification of information that constitutes personal data, from the perspective of ensuring financial transparency.

Electoral lists
Regarding the electoral lists, the proposals aim at consolidating the regulations regarding the State Register of Voters and the clear determination of the respective notion, including the exhaustive enumeration of the components included in the Register. It is proposed to prepare the electoral lists for elections in two stages – 22 days before the election day, then after their verification, at least seven days before the election day. This will address the practical shortcomings of the changes made to the lists following the verification, as well as the possibility for voters and other authorized subjects to access the information in the lists.

Fewer signatures to run for mayor
In the context of the nomination and registration of candidates, the establishment of clear deadlines and principles for the registration of electoral blocs, the improvement of signature collection procedures and the proposed comprehensive regulation of grounds for invalidation of subscription lists (total) or their signatures. It is proposed as an alternative to submit a financial guarantee in exchange for the obligation to collect signatures, but also to reduce the number of signatures required to run for mayor, from 5% to 1% but not less than 100 signatures.

Election campaign
With regard to the institution of the electoral campaign, it is proposed to exclude the ban on using in the materials and actions of electoral agitation, in the electoral programs images representing state institutions or public authorities in the country, national symbols of the Republic of Moldova or historical personalities in the country. The ban will only apply to foreign officials, state institutions or public authorities from abroad or international organizations, except in cases involving commitments made by the Republic of Moldova under international agreements with the European Union. Also here, it is proposed to change the duration of the election campaign so that this duration is equal for all, ie it “will start no earlier than 30 days before voting day and will end on the date of cancellation of registration of the candidate or the previous day voting day ”.

Voting time will be until 8 p.m.
In the context of regulating the voting process, it is proposed to reduce the mandatory voting time in all polling stations by one hour, ie until 20.00. The reduction is compensated by the possibility of extending the voting time by three hours only in the polling stations where necessary. It is also proposed to allow the voter to vote, regardless of the type of election, based on one of the following identity documents: the identity card of the citizen of the Republic of Moldova, the provisional identity card confirming the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and the passport of the citizen of the Republic of Moldova. In the context of the objective of digitizing electoral processes, it is proposed to abandon the control stamp.

Election reflection
In terms of election coverage, the general principles for election coverage are set out and clarity on the specifics of election coverage by media outlets. In order to violate the electoral and audiovisual legislation, it is proposed to establish gradual sanctions: withdrawal of the right to broadcast or publish information on election coverage for a period of up to three days; fine of up to 100,000 lei; withdrawal of the right to broadcast or publish paid or commercial advertising for a period of up to seven days; withdrawal of the right to cover the events or election campaign of the media service provider.

Judicial proceedings
With regard to legal proceedings, it is proposed to revise the chapter in order to clarify and detail the procedures for examining and resolving appeals. In this sense, the adjustments aim at correlating the provisions of the Administrative Code with those of the Electoral Code in order to eliminate the deficiencies and conflicts of competence existing at this moment. It is proposed to regulate in more detail the object of an appeal, to standardize the deadlines for their submission and examination, to determine, including by extension, the powers to examine the appeals by the electoral bodies.

Parliamentary elections
In the case of parliamentary elections, it is proposed to extend the maximum number of people to 111 who can be included in the electoral list of a political party or electoral bloc and to offer a unique and uniform possibility to change the list of candidates or to give up the campaign with no later than 10 days before election day. For independent candidates, it is proposed to reduce the parliamentary representation threshold to 1%.

Elections for President
In the case of elections for the position of President of the Republic of Moldova, it is proposed to supplement the conditions for candidates – to have the necessary education (higher education, graduated with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent). It is also proposed to establish a clear mechanism for verifying knowledge of the Romanian language, one of the conditions established by the Constitution.

Local elections
For the local elections, it is proposed to change the competence to confirm the legality of the election and, respectively, to validate the mandates of the local elected officials, by delegating these tasks to the constituency electoral councils. Another innovative element is the revision of the special conditions for candidates for mayor – the revision of the age required to run, from 25 to 23 years. It is also proposed to supplement the conditions for holding the necessary education (secondary education or higher education, graduated with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent) which are necessary for holding any position of public dignity.

In the case of the referendum, the innovation of the proposals consists in reducing the number of citizens for the initiation of republican legislative or consultative referendums. At the same time, it is proposed to amend the answer text to be chosen by the voters in the referendum, namely the words “For”, “Against” in the ballot to be replaced with the answers “YES”, “NO”. The registration of all the initiative groups for the initiation of the referendum will be carried out by the Central Electoral Commission.

The decision approved by the CEC will be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Moldova and the parliament for examination of the opportunity to amend the electoral and related legislation.

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