Political, electoral corruption to be punished more severely

Political and electoral corruption will be punished more severely after Parliament approved in the first reading a set of amendments to the Criminal Code and the Contraventions Code.

In particular, a new article has been introduced that targets illegal financing of political parties, electoral contestants or electoral campaigns, IPN reports.

The Contraventions Code is also being amended to punish organized transportation of voters to polling stations, with fines ranging from 3000 to 15000 lei.

Additionally, candidates are prohibited from using public assets in their campaign, launching infrastructure projects or carrying out procurement activities on public money. Violating this rule could entail the cancellation of budget allocations for the respective party for up to a year.

Com-Soc lawmaker Vasile Bolea criticized the bill for not being consulted with the Venice Commission. Also, he asked how the organized transportation ban will apply to voters in the diaspora. Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco, the rapporteur for the bill, said the prohibition does not apply to people who organize themselves to go to the polling station. Rather, a number of conditions should be met for it to be considered an offense – besides organized transportation, there must be the persuasion factor and a reward for voting for a particular candidate. This, says Litvinenco, will be applicable for both voting within the country and abroad.

Litvinenco added that in the case of organized transportation, persuasion alone will classify as an administrative offense, whereas persuasion coupled with a reward will classify as a criminal offense.

The bill will need to pass a second reading before becoming a law.

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