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REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – Urgent opinion published

19/08/2020

Strasbourg/Warsaw - Today, the Venice Commission, jointly with OSCE/ODIHR, has issued an urgent opinion on the draft Law no. 263 amending the Electoral Code, the Contravention Code and the Code of Audiovisual Media Services.

The Commission and the ODIHR positively assessed inter alia the following provisions of the draft Law:

• clearer definitions of “electoral campaign” and clarifications regarding the timeline for campaigning in the second round,
• additional provisions aimed at preventing the misuse of administrative resources;
• expanding the range of sanctions that could be applied for violations of campaign rules;
• the wide definition of the persons entitled to submit complaints or appeals as well of the appealable acts; and
• reasonably short deadlines, in particular for complaints and appeals.

In order to further improve the compliance of the draft Law with international obligations, human rights standards and OSCE commitments, ODIHR and the Venice Commission made key recommendations concerning:

• restrictions on freedom of expression – regarding participation in campaigning, hate speech and incitement to discrimination – to be drafted and interpreted in conformity with constitutional and international human rights law;
• an effective enforcement mechanism to prevent the misuse of administrative resources,
• access of observers to all stages of the electoral process,
• sanctions related to election observers and the media, which should respect the principles of proportionality and equality and subject to effective judicial review.

The principle of stability of electoral law must also be respected.

This opinion was prepared as part of the Partnership for Good Governance, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, through the Quick Response Mechanism (QRM).

The opinion had been requested by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova on 24 July 2020.
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