Have you ever wondered how it happens that some draft laws are adopted and enter into force immediately, while others collect dust on the Parliament’s working tables for months or even years, so that eventually nothing is heard of them?
The Independent Journalism Center took interest in the fact if there is, beyond political interests that usually motivate such delays, some legal mechanism that hinders law making.
Thus the Center’s lawyers found out that Parliament Regulations prescribe no deadline for including draft laws into the agenda of Parliament meetings. They can be kept on hold even for years.
Proceeding from the above, we decided to make a public petition, which was initially joined by other 28 non-governmental organizations of Moldova, by which we ask the Parliament to improve the situation. We come with actual data, arguments and three main requests.
We believe that in a country with European aspirations it is impossible to have dozens or even hundreds of legislative initiatives swept under the carpet yearly, while the drafts that are not examined within the legislature during which they are submitted become void as it ends.
If you wish to pass to politicians the message that you find the Parliament’s tactics wrong and that you want a predictable and efficient legislation, you may join us!
Read and support the petition attached, share it on social networks, so as to attract as many people as possible. Let’s remind Members of Parliament that journalists, the civil society and citizens are watching them! Thank you!
Dear Mr. President of the Parliament,
Dear Members of the Parliament of Moldova,
In recent years, Moldovan civil society has cooperated with Parliament to improve the process for making laws convinced that effective cooperation gives greater legitimacy to regulatory acts. To that end, civil society representatives have developed draft laws and have cooperated with the law making body as often as necessary.
As a rule, members of Parliament (MPs) are, or at least seem to be, open to such proposals and they participate in relevant public debates and discussions, but although they declare their support for civil society initiatives, they avoid assuming political responsibility for them once the drafts are sent to Parliament. Thus, proposals from civil society are rarely registered as legislative initiatives and examined in Parliament.
Another problem is that proposals registered as legislative initiatives that receive the necessary approvals are sometimes not included on the agenda for debate and adoption. Various reasons for this are suggested including the lack of a majority willing to vote for the draft and the priority of other drafts, among others. According to data provided by Parliament, 510 legislative initiatives were registered in 2012, and 542 were registered in 2013. About 60% of them were on the agendas of plenary meetings and were examined while the rest were still “in process.” This accumulation of “legislative arrears” is possible because there are no legal provisions obliging Parliament to examine registered initiatives.
In addition, there are no direct provisions in parliamentary regulations that set the timeframe in which a registered draft law previously examined by a standing committee must be placed on the agenda of a plenary session. Thus, premises can be created that slow down the legislative process for initiatives inconvenient for one or several parties or a group of MPs. As a result, drafts submitted to Parliament can lose their timeliness if they are included on the agenda too late or not at all. Draft legislation that is not examined during the session when it is registered becomes void.
We believe that the lack of a fixed period for including draft laws on Parliament’s agenda can foster political bargaining and maneuvering behind the scenes. The appropriateness or inappropriateness of legislative initiatives must be decided during plenary debates. Also, voters have the right to know the position of each MP on the issues discussed.
For civil society representatives and the population to understand how laws are made and the criteria that are used to decide whether to adopt or reject legislative initiatives, we believe that the process must be documented to make MPs accountable and to optimize communication between Parliament and civil society organizations.
Considering the above, we ASK members of the Moldovan Parliament to do the following.
- Be more open to draft legislation proposed by civil society representatives and include it in discussions in standing committees ensuring that decisions to approve or reject it are neutral and transparent.
- Document decisions to accept or reject civil society proposals submitted to Parliament in written notifications to the senders in order to strengthen coherence and mutual trust.
- Eliminate the legal vacuum by adopting parliamentary regulations that specify a fixed timeframe for including legislative initiatives on the agendas of plenary sessions after they are discussed in standing committees.
Independent Journalism Center
Electronic Press Association
Association of Independent Television Journalists
Journalistic Investigation Center
Young Journalists Center
Press Freedom Committee
Transparency International – Moldova
National Youth Council of Moldova
Institute for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
Institute for Human Rights
Human Rights Embassy
Women’s Association for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development
Center for Health Policies and Studies
League of People Living with HIV in the Republic of Moldova
Alliance of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities
Center of Rehabilitation and Social Integration of Children with Intellectual Disabilities (CULTUM)
Association MOTIVAŢIE (Motivation)
Association of Deaf Children of Moldova
Association for the Rehabilitation and Social Integration of Children with the Downs Syndrome
Association of Support for Children with Special Needs
Association to Support Children with Physical Disabilities of Moldova
Association of Persons with Hearing Deficiencies (Cantemir)
Center of Legal Assistance to Persons with Disabilities
Center Speranța (Hope)