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CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – call for restraint and dialogue – Parliament should repeal today’s decision - statement by President Buquicchio

Strasbourg 23 April 2021
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CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – call for restraint and dialogue – Parliament should repeal today’s decision - statement by President Buquicchio

April 23, 2021, Council of Europe, Strasbourg - "I am extremely alarmed by the present situation in the Republic of Moldova.

I call on all state institutions to exercise restraint, to enter into a dialogue and to de-escalate this worrying situation in order to ensure the operation of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, which is what the Moldovan people deserves especially when confronted with the current health and economic crisis.

Today’s declaration of the Parliament that it does not recognise the Opinion of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova of 15 April 2021 and the no-confidence vote in three Judges of the Constitutional Court are very worrying.

The Venice Commission has stated on numerous occasions that disregarding a decision of a Constitutional Court is equivalent to disregarding the Constitution and the Constituent Power, which attributed the competence to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution to the Constitutional Court. Parliament and the executive power must respect the role of the Constitutional Court as the “gatekeeper of the Constitution”, even when they are dissatisfied with a decision or are of the view that the Court made a mistake.

There is no such thing as a “no-confidence vote in the Judges of the Constitutional Court” under the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, as was already stated in relation to a previously failed attempt by the Parliament of Moldova to introduce the possibility to revoke Constitutional Judges for lack of trust by Parliament. As I have already had the occasion to state in 2013, this no-confidence vote is in clear contradiction not only with Article 137 of the Constitution of Moldova but also with European Standards on constitutional justice.

The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova has also revoked its 2019 decision to appoint the President of the Constitutional Court. This decision has no basis in the Constitution.

A decision of the Constitutional Court that dissatisfies the legislative or executive powers does not amount to an abuse of power or an arbitrary decision. Nor does voting in favour of an unpopular decision of the Court amount to a violation of the oath taken by the Constitutional Judges. Such oath is not taken to the benefit of the political majority of the day. It is an oath to support the Constitution, regardless of whether this entails disappointing such majority.

In its declaration of today, the Parliament has stated that “edifying the rule of law is an absolute priority”. But Parliament may not ignore that judicial independence is a fundamental principle of any legal order governed by the rule of law. Respect for the constitutional order may not be invoked as a pretext for violating the Constitution.

Parliament has declared the existence of a situation of severe constitutional and political crisis. I reiterate that unconstitutional actions against another state institution are not conducive to solving any crisis. Democratic culture and maturity require institutional restraint, good faith and mutual respect between State institutions.

I call on the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova to repeal its declaration and its unconstitutional decisions and to abide by the past and future decisions of the Constitutional Court even when it disagrees with them."