Breaking Monopolies: Proposal for Civic Involvement in Referendum Campaigns

Experts suggest the establishment of civic groups to actively participate in the referendum campaign.

This recommendation stems from consultations organised by the Watchdog community. While feasible within the year preceding elections, there is a notable risk of impeding the Central Electoral Commission due to its limited capacities.

"The Venice Commission similarly recommended this legislative amendment during its review of the Electoral Code project in 2022, rendering it a measure not without precedent," remarked Valeriu Pașa, President of the Watchdog Community in Moldova.

Echoing this sentiment, Igor Bucătaru, an electoral expert from Promo-LEX, emphasised, "It is imperative to dismantle the monopoly of political parties as exclusive participants in the referendum. Both proactive and engaged citizens should rightfully benefit from this privilege."

Furthermore, Angelica Caraman, President of the Moldovan Central Electoral Commission (CEC), outlined three critical elements immutable within a year preceding elections: the electoral system, constituencies, and the composition of electoral bodies.

Victoria Roșca, a deputy from PAS, noted, "While premature to render a definitive response, the proposal warrants serious consideration. Granting citizens the ability to register with initiative groups should entail corresponding campaigns to promote various voting options."

However, Pavel Postica, Vice President of the CEC, cautioned against proliferating potential actors for organising elections, citing the potential to hinder operations. "Given the singular nature of the Central Electoral Commission, protracted disputes could significantly impede its functioning," he remarked.

It's worth recalling President Maia Sandu's proposal to synchronise the constitutional referendum for EU accession with the presidential elections. Consequently, deputies amended the electoral code, subject to scrutiny by the Constitutional Court. Notably, in 2019, concurrent parliamentary elections and a referendum received validation from the court.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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