Unconstitutionality of parties under rule of law: legality, benefits, risks. IPN debate

Recently, the Government requested the Constitutional Court to establish the constitutionality of the Shor Party. This parliamentary, opposition party can be outlawed and this is an event that can have considerable effects on the rule of law in Moldova in the form of significant benefits, risks or even dangers. The issue was developed in IPN’s public debate “Unconstitutionality of parties under rule of law: legality, benefits, risks.”

According to the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan, the Constitution is the fundamental and basic law of the state. It is a special normative legal act that has the greatest legal force in the state. “The Constitution defines the fundamentals of the state, the basics of the political, legal and economic systems and also the rights and obligations of the citizens. The Constitution is the founding document of the state that stipulates the principles and goals of state building. In most of the states, the Constitution is adopted either by a constituent assembly or by a referendum. The theory of social contract defines the Constitution as an agreement between the population and the state, which stipulates the state formation and functioning procedures, the rights of the sides,” explained Igor Boțan.

Article 41 of the Constitution focuses on political parties. The Law on Parties that was adopted in December 2007 defines the political parties as voluntary associations, as the Constitution provides. “These have the status of legal entity, being associations of citizens of the Republic of Moldova with the right to vote. These, by common activities, based on the principle of free participation, contribute to the conceiving, expression and realization of their political will. The political parties are democratic institutions of a state that ensures the rule of law. They promote democratic values and political pluralism, contributing to the formation of public opinion, take part in elections and in the constitution of the public authorities by providing candidates. They stimulate the citizens’ participation in elections and take part in the legal exercise of state power, etc.” noted the expert.

According to him, the parties and other political organizations that, by their goal or activities, argue against political pluralism and the rule of law principle, undermine the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova are unconstitutional. ”The unconstitutionality of political parties can be established only by the Constitutional Court. If we refer to the Constitutional Court, this is the only constitutional legal authority that is independent from any other public authority and obeys exclusively the Constitution. The Court guarantees the supremacy of the Constitution, ensures the implementation of the principle of separation of branches of power in the state, guarantees the observance of human rights and also ensures the citizens fulfill their obligations,” stated Igor Boțan.

University professor Boris Negru, doctor habilitate of law, said the subject of constitutionality of a party is a relatively new one, but not absolutely new. In 1991, the Communist Party was outlawed. Then the given party was also dispossessed of property. There was one more case of banning of a party, but it was later determined that this party was banned not in accordance with the law. The Law on Political Parties stipulates the cases in which the outlawing of a party can be considered. It goes to reorganization or self-dissolution. Such actions can be initiated by party members. When it goes to the dissolution of a party, the responsible authorities intervene here.

“Sometimes, the party can be limited in its activity, for a period of up to six months, so that it deals with the objections to it. In six months, the party can return to normal activity. In the current case, it is a rather important, topical and intricate issue. It is intricate because the same Constitutional Court does not have experience in determining the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a party, in this case,” stated the professor.

According to Boris Negru, unconstitutionality means emphasizing of the circumstances stipulated in the Law on Parties and in the Constitution. Article 41 of the Constitution provides that the parties and other sociopolitical organizations that, by their goals or activities, argue against political pluralism, the rule of law principles, the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova can be declared unconstitutional.

“In political terms, this request can be found in the electoral statements of the leaders of the ruling party. Such a request is periodically formulated by society, the citizens,” said political commentator Ilian Cașu, ex-deputy chairman of Our Party, which was illegally excluded from the electoral race. According to him, the observance of the procedure is the biggest challenge in the approach made by the Government. The relevant application was submitted to the Constitutional Court in breach of procedures and was sent back for the decision to be published in the Official Gazette first. But the citizens are not interested in this so much.

“There is the procedure and there is the goal. The citizens’ goal is to first of all see the corrupt and abusive practices eliminated. I consider this party daily undermines electoral democracy as it becomes involved in practices to which the other parties cannot resort as it goes to funds here. There are responsible institutions that need to determine the origin of these financial resources,” stated Ilian Cașu.

“I think we will not achieve something if the Shor Party is outlawed as they transform themselves, regenerate,” stated the commentator. According to him, the heavyweights of this party already promote another party. As serious reasons are invoked, such as illegal financing and serving of the interests of other parties, there are state institutions that can intervene by taking administrative or legal action over the illegalities committed by the leaders of this party.

The public debate entitled “Unconstitutionality of parties under rule of law: legality, benefits, risks?” was the 267th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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