While formally registered as a political party, the Shor Party is more of a cult with a specific following and a network of “social groceries” for buying the votes of some of the most vulnerable groups of people, said the political pundit Igor Boțan during an IPN debate on Wednesday.
Recently, the Ministry of Justice asked the Constitutional Court to check the Shor Party in a bid to outlaw it. But Igor Boțan thinks that, even if successful, the practical, short-term effect of this action would be minimal, as the deep pockets of the party’s leaders could easily find a replacement under a different name. The Shor Party itself was created in 2016 on the basis of a host entity founded earlier.
On the other hand, goes on the pundit, outlawing the Shor Party would send some important signals and could prove beneficial for the entire Moldovan political landscape in the long run. “The Constitutional Court could set some cornerstones for the behavior of political parties, based on both national legislation and the ECHR case-law. For the parties that aren’t funded with dirty money, outlawing the Shor Party could be of great utility. For the entire society, in the long run”.
Igor Boțan added that, while the MoJ application to the Constitutional Court seems “well-reasoned”, it is not unlikely that the Venice Commission might formulate some objections, as the ECHR case-law is “very reserved and cautious” about outlawing political parties.
“But let’s see what the Constitutional Court has to say about this. Things seem to be quite thorny. But it’s a good thing we’ve come to discuss this issue at all. If our country is poor, and the government has to index pensions and public sector salaries every year, maybe the idea of having ‘social grocery stores’ (where vulnerable people could buy food at discounted prices) is not so bad. But we need to legislate them. We should do as the United Kingdom did long ago. They forbid political parties from engaging in charity. The role of a political party is to generate ideas, propose policies and convince people that they work. But so-called charitable activities and outright commercial ones invariably corrupt voters”, concluded the pundit.
The debate was the 267th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.