on the organization of the debate “Assumption of responsibility by Government: controversies, effects, solutions”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 14 April March 2020, Debate No.128 brought together: Vice president of the Democratic Party, MP Nicolae Ciubuc, MP Igor Munteanu, vice president of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform”, and IPN project’s standing expert Igor Boțan.
IPN Project’s standing expert Igor Boțan said the assumption of responsibility by the Government represents a special parliamentary procedure. By this, in order to cope with particular challenges, special circumstances that require urgent measures that are usually within the Parliament’s remit, the Government undertakes these powers by assuming responsibility. The Constitutional Court (CC) underlined all the stages that are to be covered in case of such a procedure.
The expert noted that after a number of MPs who represent the opposition and an independent MP filed challenges, the CC on April 13 held debates on the issue. The CC attentively examined the challenges and the entire situation and took an important step towards clarifying the case law concerning the assumption of responsibility by the Government. The CC based all its arguments on the challenge filed by MP Oleinic. “I think that if Mister Oleinic hadn’t gone to the Constitutional Court, the other challenges wouldn’t have probably deserved to be taken into account as the Court’s judgment is actually based on Mister Oleinic’s challenge concerning the procedure for assuming responsibility by the Government”.
Vice president of the Democratic Party, MP Nicolae Ciubuc said the assumption of responsibility is in accordance with the Constitution and comes as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme measures in a state of emergency are thus needed. These measures are designed to combat the effects of the current pandemic. The assumption of responsibility was absolutely legal and met all the conditions stipulated by the Constitution. The reaction of the opposition was visible. On the one hand, this didn’t submit a no-confidence motion. On the other hand, it criticized the measures as “populist” and filed challenges to the CC. But the measures adopted by the Government are intended for the people.
Nicolae Ciubuc, who is the deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission for agriculture and food industry, said the amendments for which the executive assumed responsibility refer to definite measures designed to support a number of social sections and the business community, creating concessions for businesses and excluding impediments that hinder the development path. “They somehow try to speculate that the Government does not have this power and the Court centered more on a number of procedural aspects, specifically the deliberative character of the siting”. The MP noted there is a subjective aspect in this case.
MP Igor Munteanu, vice president of the Party “Dignity and Truth Platform”, stated that the origins of this assumption of responsibility reside in the decreeing of the state of emergency on March 17. Then, the Government came before Parliament to state its view and to ask for powers for the Commission for Exceptional Situations, but those powers were larger than the powers provided typically during a state of emergency. “This mandate was also given without knowing what measures were to be taken and what financial resources were to be allocated. Many of the measures adopted by the Government do not match the context of the state of emergency and are momentary options associated with group interests”.
Igor Munteanu, who also heads the parliamentary public finances control commission, said the challenges lodged with the CC were determined by this context. The challenge of his party mate enumerated the provisions that do not fit a bill with measures that are to be taken during a state of emergency. Those provisions refer to duty free, the tobacco law and the local taxes and they revealed economic groups’ influences on the decisions taken by this Government. The Premier came to Parliament knowing that none of the MPs who backed the assumption of responsibility will be present there and the fact that the quorum will be absent was known. “The Constitutional Court ascertained that the procedure was vitiated and this is important from my viewpoint,” stated Igor Munteanu, who is Moldova’s former ambassador to the U.S.
The Agency published 4 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 14.04.20, „Assumption of responsibility by Government: controversies, effects, solutions. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/assumption-of-responsibility-by-government-controversies-effects-solutions-ipn-debate-8004_1072883.html; „Igor Munteanu: CC advised Government not to repeat same mistakes” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-munteanu-cc-advised-government-not-to-repeat-same-mistakes-8004_1072884.html; „Nicolae Ciubuc: CC judgment generated problems to businesses and uncertainty in society” - https://www.ipn.md/en/cc-judgment-generated-problems-to-businesses-and-uncertainty-in-society-8004_1072885.html; „Igor Boțan: CC clarified case law on assumption of responsibility” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-cc-clarified-case-law-on-assumption-of-responsibility-8004_1072889.html.
IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN