FAKE NEWS: Moldova’s Constitutional Court is controlled by Maia Sandu and the Americans
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova has allegedly already decided to dissolve Parliament, pressed by president Maia Sandu and the US Ambassador, Derek J. Hogan, a PSRM-linked website claims. The publication picks up on the narratives saying that Maia Sandu reportedly commands state institutions and that the American ambassador is interfering with the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova. The narratives are meant to discredit the image of the Constitutional Court before it takes note of the circumstances for dissolving the Moldovan Parliament, currently dominated by PSRM and their allies in Shor Party, who oppose early elections. The Court has been repeatedly notified in order to issue rulings over various political deadlocks created by parties in Chişinău.
NEWS: “According to Today.MD, the Constitutional Court has already decided to admit existing circumstances as mitigating for the dissolution of Parliament. Therefore, the Court is due to rule in favor of Maia Sandu’s request, although this goes against its previous rulings, which compelled the president to hold real consultations with political factions and take under advisement the existence of a Parliament majority able and willing to vote a Cabinet.
According to our sources, the decision was taken as a result of growing pressure on the president of the Constitutional Court, Domnica Manole, from the president of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the US ambassador, Derek Hogan.
As a result of its decision, the Court’s reputation will be tarnished and its rulings will lose their legitimacy, including from the point of view of the Venice Commission. In its 2019 opinion, the latter said Parliament can be dissolved unless there’s a majority ready to vote for a Government. The text of the Constitution requires all stakeholders to make every possible effort for the good governance of the country, not for triggering early elections.
A further dent in the Court’s reputation is the unexplainable fact that the result defies the Court’s own jurisprudence and the recommendations of the Venice Commission. This is all the more troubling as right now the Constitutional Court of Moldova holds the presidency of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts over 2020-2023”.
NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu is subduing state institutions and is influencing the rulings of the Constitutional Court. 2. The American ambassador is inferring with the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova.
CONTEXT: Amidst the political crisis that has been gripping the Republic of Moldova since the Socialist government stepped down in late December, the Constitutional Court has taken on the role of arbitrator in disputes between the Parliament dominated by Igor Dodon’s Socialists, on the one hand, and the presidency, on the other.
On March 29, president Maia Sandu notified the Constitutional Court over the dissolution of Parliament, after two failed attempts to invest a new Cabinet and the expiry of three-month period during which time an interim government could have been sworn in.
Former Prime Minister Ion Chicu, a known associate of Igor Dodon, resigned on December 23, in order to trigger early elections. At the time, president Maia Sandu held consultations with parliamentary factions, and the majority of parties argued in favor of holding snap elections. PSRM, the party holding the largest number of seats in Parliament, subsequently changed its mind about organizing the election, amidst its waning approval ratings, and has called for the investiture of a new Cabinet. Maia Sandu and PAS continue to favor an early election, with the hope of securing a majority in Parliament and a Government that can implement the reforms promised in the election campaign.
Maia Sandu designated two candidates for the position of Prime Minister, first Natalia Gavriliţă, then Igor Grosu.
After Natalia Gavriliţă’s candidacy was turned down twice in a row, the Constitutional Court forced Maia Sandu to consult with parliamentary groups before moving ahead with nominating a new candidate. Then, after Maia Sandu designated Igor Grosu as the new Prime Minister, the Court ruled (following a notification filed by PSRM) that her nomination observed the Constitution, since at the time the majority in Parliament did not back any candidate.
In turn, Maia Sandu turned down two nominations (Mariana Durleşteanu and Vladimir Golovatiuc) for the position of Prime Minister advanced by the ruling coalition made up of Igor Dodon’s Socialists and MPs of the Shor Party, founded by wanted millionaire Ilan Shor. PSRM and Shor Party say there is currently a Parliament majority willing to support and vote a new Cabinet.
PSRM and Shor MPs on March 31 declared a state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova over a period of two months, until May 31, during which time Parliament cannot be dissolved under the Constitution. This decision was also referred to the Constitutional Court on April 7 by independent MP Octavian Ţâcu, who claims the decision violated procedural regulations.
Previously, the Court had been repeatedly notified to issue rulings over political deadlocks created by parties in Chişinău.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova has notoriously taken a number of controversial decisions, particularly during the rule of the Democratic Party led by Vladimir Plahotniuc. After Plahotniuc’s regime was removed from power and the Moldovan oligarch fled the country, Court judges all stepped down.
The new membership of the Constitutional Court, now led by judge Domnica Manole, has managed to restore the poor reputation of this institution.
The article also reiterates the narrative on the interference of the United States ambassador in the domestic affairs of the Republic of Moldova, also claiming the presidency is being maneuvered by Western forces wanting to grab hold of the reins of power in Moldova. This was a recurrent accusation targeting Maia Sandu in the presidential election campaign last year. Moscow authorities also launched attacks on the USA and EU ambassadors in Chişinău.
Additionally, Socialist leader Igor Dodon disseminated the same narrative during a special broadcast on Primul TV on Wednesday, April 7, where he claimed the ambassadors are pressuring Constitutional Court members and that Maia Sandu is using the Intelligence and Security Service to that end.
PURPOSE: The narratives pile up the pressure on the Constitutional Court before it can issue a ruling on the dissolution of Parliament. Moreover, they are designed to badmouth the Court in the event it takes note that all the requirements to dissolve Parliament have been met.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Court will not examine Maia Sandu’s request earlier than April 15, so a decision in this sense has not yet been made. Moreover, there’s no evidence or sign that judges have been pressured in any way, or that they have already made up their mind regarding the ruling. Finally, any Court ruling will be accompanied by a motivation, so before drawing any conclusion the Court’s arguments must first be analyzed.
OFFICIAL REACTIONS: The president of the Constitutional Court, Domnica Manole, reacted to the article published by Today.md.
“I hereby firmly dismiss all slanderous information published by Today.md on April 6, headlined “Sources – The Constitutional Court’s decision over the dissolution of Parliament has already been made”. I have been under no pressure from any person or group over the Opinion the Court is expected to issue over the coming period. I am an independent judge and will cast my vote based on a thorough analysis of constitutional texts and the relevant Court jurisprudence. I hereby express my disapproval with the unfair and manipulative methods employed by certain representatives of online media”.