Venice Commission no longer matters? Sic!

Reuters on June 6 published an article that makes Parliament Speaker Andrian Candu and other politicians to change their opinion about the role of the Venice Commission in the electoral system change in Moldova. The authors of a new Sic! article  say invoking “interference” in response to an opinion asked by you is at least undiplomatic and inconsistent.

The article, which is based on a “leaked” draft document of the Commissions, speaks about the mainly negative conclusions of the experts about the bill to change the electoral system. Speaker Andrian Candu expressed his skepticism about this appraisal, suggesting that they would welcome legal arguments and technical expertise from the Commission, “but this should not interfere in what we consider to be the sovereign choice of the country”.

The Sic! authors say the position of the Speaker runs counter to his previous statements and points to a change in the government’s’ attitude to the foreign partners when these criticize or act contrary to the plans of the Moldovan government. The Speaker appreciated more positively the role of the Venice Commission on March 1, 2017, when he gave a press briefing together with the Commission’s President Gianni Buquicchio. Then, Candu appreciated the contribution of the Venice Commission (Sic!) in everything that legislative work means.

The article authors say the change in the tone of the Moldovan leaders occurred after the passing in the first reading of the bill to change the electoral system on May 5 and after the protests mounted by opposition parties and civil society. On May 10, after a meeting with the Venice Commission delegation, Andrian Candu said the mission of the European institution is to legally and technically assess the proposals initiated by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and stated somehow his position on the Commission’s mandate.

The fact that a recommendation by the Commission is not “legal and technical”, as Andrian Candu wants, but criticizes the reform on the whole does not mean that this stops to be valid, well-founded and based on evidence and expertise or that this limits somehow the sovereignty of the state because Parliament and its leaders are free to take or not to take the Commission’s recommendations into account.

“The fact that these do not want to assume the risk of ignoring this recommendation is something else. Suggesting that the Commission’s experts overstepped their remit is a solution that they consider appropriate to apply. It should be noted that Andrian Candu, in his role of Speaker of Parliament, was the one who asked for the Commission’s opinion about the electoral system modification proposal. Invoking “interference” in response to an opinion asked by you is at least undiplomatic and inconsistent,” says the article.

The full article in the Romanian is available on Sic! is a project implemented by IPN News Agency with financial support from the Black Sea Trust.

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