Expert Igor Boțan said that he wants the Republic of Moldova to return to the pure “parliamentary republic” form of government and the President’s powers should remain the same. Also, there should be identified a form of electing the President by Parliament and by other bodies, for example, by involving representatives of the local authorities, as they do in Estonia. At the same time, the problem of political parties should be rethought so that party switching in Parliament is stopped. “If this problem is solved, the chances for the people to understand the advantages of the parliamentary republic will increase dramatically,” the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan stated in a public debate entitled “Presidency, President and presidential elections: processes, tendencies and effects”.
“We must understand that the political regime depends a lot on the party system and the electoral system. These things should be considered in concert. We must avoid stratagems similar to those used by the Constitutional Court, which issued tens of decisions with emphasis on the constitutional content, but at a critical moment, because it was suitable for the political class, it smashed that constitutional content, as it happened on March 4, 2016, when it decided to restore the direct election of the President,” stated Igor Boțan.
In another development, the expert said that by the President’s powers, Moldova is now a parliamentary republic, while by the method of electing the President it is a semi-presidential or a presidential regime. Moldova in 1994 chose a semi-parliamentary, semi-presidential regime as it went out of a totalitarian, Soviet regime where they said the power was held by the soviets, but there was actually a party above the soviets. After the dismemberment of the Communist regimes, in Central Europe they reached the conclusion that the semi-presidential form is a solution for the states in transition.
According to the expert, to understand how a presidential regime in the post-Soviet republics works, we can look at Belarus or Russia where de iure, it is a semi-presidential regime, while de facto, it is a super-presidential republic. Turkey is another example of presidential republic. “To have a parliamentary republic like in Europe, one should have political culture, a developed party system, a tested electoral system,” stated Igor Boțan.
He noted that a semi-presidential system was established in Moldova in 1994, enjoying the Venice Commission’s support and borrowing the semi-presidential model from Romania. “In 1990 and 1991, harsh battles were given for the adoption by the Republic of Moldova of a presidential system. A proper model of parliamentary republic was ultimately agreed. On March 4, 2016, the Constitutional Court adopted a decision by which it annulled a part of the constitutional reform of 2000, keeping the part concerning the President’s powers intact. This way, a part of the President’s powers are typical of the parliamentary system. On the other hand, the incumbent President says that no institution has legitimacy, but his. He ignores his duties, does not sign decrees, does not promulgate laws.”
According to the expert, the decision adopted in 2016 should be reviewed by reestablishing the parliamentary republic and changes should be made to the formula adopted in 2000, concerning the election of the President. “They should either restore the election of the President by Parliament, by a simple majority of votes, or should create special boards for the indirect election of the President.”
The public debate “Presidency, President and presidential elections: processes, tendencies and effects” was the 152nd installment of the series “Developing political culture through political debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.