Parliament decided: Presidential election and national referendum will be held Oct. 20

The presidential election and the national constitutional referendum on Moldova’s accession to the European Union will take place on October 20, as Parliament decided on Thursday. At the same time, through an amendment, the lawmakers modified the question that will be put to the voters, who will say whether they agree with the amendment of the Constitution or not, IPN reports.

Initially, the draft decision suggested that the referendum should address the question “Are you for the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the European Union?”. However, following an amendment proposed by Veronica Roșca, chairwoman of the Parliament’s committee on legal affairs, appointments and immunities, the question was modified as: “Are you for amending the Constitution to permit the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the European Union?”.

“We, the authors, considered it appropriate and judicious to edit it in this manner so as to exclude any error and, respectively, to ensure clarity,” said Veronica Roșca.

At the beginning of the sitting, the MPs of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists demanded to exclude from the agenda the draft decision on the organization of the referendum because there is no political consensus on the conduct of this exercise. “Moreover, there is no need to hold such a political referendum at this time,” said Socialist MP Grigore Novac. The proposal wasn’t yet supported by the parliamentary majority.

BCS MP Fiodor Gagauz said the referendum question runs counter to the provisions of the Electoral Code, which say that the text of the question must be drafted in a neutral manner, without ambiguities, without misleading or suggesting the answer. He also said that the decision will be challenged in the Constitutional Court. “The ruling party is making effort to remain in power at all costs. That’s why it is looking for possibilities to rig the upcoming elections. Today, the PAS decided to use the national referendum strictly for political purposes,” stated Fiodor Gagauz.

“The wording of this question is more than clear, more than correct, it is absolutely legal and constitutional,” Veronica Roșca said in reply.

BCS MP Diana Caraman said that this referendum was “invented” in order to ensure another presidential term for Maia Sandu. According to her, the government doesn’t have achievements about which to talk and therefore initiated the referendum on EU accession.

“The Republic of Moldova is a European state and the citizens of the Republic of Moldova feel European. The citizens of the Republic of Moldova share the European values and aspirations and want the Republic of Moldova to be integrated into the EU. This is what the people say in the discussions we have at the local level. This is what the people frankly said in the presidential election, when about one million people voted for a pro-European president,” said MP of the Party of Action and Solidarity Vasile Grădinaru.

Both of the draft decisions were adopted by 56 votes.

The referendum on the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the European Union was announced by President Maia Sandu during an event at which the head of state informed that she would run for a new presidential term.

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