The Republic of Moldova (Moldova) declared its independence on 27 August 1991. The current Constitution was adopted on 29 July 1994 and entered into force 27 August 1994 thereby abrogating the former Constitution of 15 April 1978 of the Moldavian SSR. The current constitution has most recently been amended on 29 June 2006.
Moldova is a sovereign, independent, neutral and democratic republic governed by the rule of law, cf. the Constitution articles 1 and 11. The legislature, the executive and the judiciary are separate and cooperate in the exercise of their assigned prerogatives.
The Constitution is the Supreme law of the State. It governs the competences of inter alia the Parliament, the President, the Government, Public administration and the Judiciary. Further, a chapter is devoted to fundamental rights, freedoms and duties.
Moldova is divided into 32 districts (raioane) as well as towns and villages. Further, Gagauzia constitutes an autonomous territorial unit, and the places on the left bank of the Dniester river may be assigned special forms and conditions of autonomy, cf. Articles 110 and 111 of the Constitution, cf. below. The state language is the Moldovan language and its writing is based on the Latin alphabet.
Legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Moldova. It consists of 101 members elected for a four-year term by universal, equal, direct, secret and freely expressed suffrage.
The Parliament inter alia passes laws, decisions and motions, declares the conduct of referenda, provides legislative interpretations, approves the main directions of the policy of the State, exercises control over the executive power, ratifies, terminates, suspends and repeals international treaties, approves the state budget and declares the state of national emergency, martial law, and war.
In the event of impossibility to form a Government or of blocking up the procedure of adopting the laws within 3 months, the President of Moldova, following the consultation of the parliamentary fractions, may dissolve the Parliament.
Legislative initiative lies with the members of Parliament, the President of Moldova, the Government, and the People’s Assembly of the autonomous territorial unit of Gagauzia.
Legislation is passed by the Parliament in the form of Constitutional laws (laws aimed at revising the Constitution), organic laws (central issues like the electoral system, organization of state bodies and other issues enumerated in Article 72(3)), and ordinary laws.
Organic laws are passed by the majority vote of the elected members of Parliament after at least two hearings. Ordinary laws and decisions are passed by the majority vote of the Parliament members present. As for Constitutional laws, cf. below under “Revision of the Constitution”.
Laws are submitted to the President of Moldova for promulgation and shall be published in the “Monitorul Oficial” of Moldova as a precondition for entering into force.
The President of Moldova is the Head of State elected for a four-year tenure by the Parliament obtaining a vote of three-fifths of its members based on secret suffrage. To run for President, a person must be a citizen of Moldova with the right to vote, speak the official language, be over 40 years of age and have been living and have permanent residence on the territory of Moldova for no less than 10 years. A person cannot be President for more than two consecutive times.
The President inter alia negotiates international treaties, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, may request the citizens to express their will by referendum on matters of national interest, repeals the acts of the Government which run contrary to legislation until a final judgement by the Constitutional Court. The President issues decrees in the exercise of his or her powers.
In the event the President of Moldova commits an offence, the Parliament may by two-thirds majority of votes cast decide to indict the President under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
If the President infringes upon the constitutional provisions, the President shall be dismissed by the Parliament by a majority vote of two-thirds of its member. The motion soliciting the dismissal shall be launched by at least one third of the members of the Parliament giving the President the option to give explanations on the deeds before the Parliament and the Constitutional Court.
The Government ensures the carrying out of the state internal and external policy and exercises general leadership of the public administration.
It consists of a Prime Minister, a First Deputy Minister, Deputy Ministers, Ministers and other members established by organic law. The Prime Minister exercises leadership of the Government and coordinates the activities of its members.
The Prime Minister is designated by the President of Moldova after hearing of the parliamentary fractions. Members of Parliament shall grant confidence in the Government and its programme of activity with a vote of majority.
The Government adopts 1) decisions for the enforcement of laws, 2) ordinances (requiring special authority from the Parliament) and 3) regulations, which are issued by the Prime Minister for the organisation of the internal activity of the Government.
The Government shall inform the Parliament and is bound to reply to questions and interpellations raised by Parliament members. The office of the Government shall cease inter alia in case of expression of a vote of no confidence by the Parliament.
Judicial Power belongs to the courts, which consists of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, courts of appeal and courts of law. Special law courts may operate under the law for certain categories of cases.
The Constitutional Court is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction and guarantees the supremacy of the Constitution. It consists of 6 judges appointed for a 6-year term of office. Two judges are appointed by the Parliament, two by the Government and two by the Superior Council of Magistrates. The Court itself elects its President by secret ballot.
The Constitutional Court inter alia reviews, upon appeal, the constitutionality of laws and decisions of the Parliament, Presidential decrees, decisions and ordinances of the Government and international treaties to which Moldova is party, gives interpretations of the Constitution, and confirms the results of parliamentary and Presidential elections in Moldova.
The President, Vice-Presidents and Judges of the Supreme Court – having a working tenure of at least 10 years – shall be appointed by the Parliament upon proposal of the Superior Council of Magistrates. Judges sitting in courts of law shall be appointed by the President of Moldova upon proposal of the Superior Council of Magistrates, initially for a 5-year term and then until reaching the age limit fixed under the law.
The Superior Council of Magistrates consists of judges and university lectures elected for a tenure of 4 years. Further, the President of the Supreme Court, the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General are members. The Council ensures the appointment, transfer, removal, upgrading and the imposing of sanctions concerning judges.
The autonomous territorial unit of Gagauzia has a special status representing a form of self-determination of the Gagauzian people. It operates representative and executive bodies within the territory unit.
Further, places on the left bank of the Dniester River may be assigned special forms and conditions of autonomy according to special statutory provisions adopted by organic law, cf. the Constitution of Moldova Article 110. The activities of the OSCE Mission to Moldova inter alia includes consolidating the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova along with an understanding about a special status for the Transdniestrian region.
Revision of the Constitution may be initiated by 1) the Government, 2) at least a third of the Parliament members, or 3) at least 200,000 voting citizens with 20,000 signatures in support of the initiative in each of at least half of the territorial-administrative units of the second level. A Constitutional draft law shall be submitted to the Parliament with an advisory opinion of the Constitutional Court adopted by at least 4 judges. The Parliament may then – with a majority of two-thirds of its members – pass an amendment of the Constitution following at least 6 months but no more than one year from the date of the initiative.
Provisions regarding sovereignty, neutrality as well as independence and unity of state may be revised only by a referendum based on majority vote of the registered voting citizens.
Posted: July 2008
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