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Report on the results of parliamentary elections and mandate validation of the elected MPs.
Under Article 135 para. (1) lett. e) of the Constitution, Articles 4 para. (1) lett. e) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, 4 para. (1) lett. e) and 38 para. (3) of the Constitutional Jurisdiction Code, the Constitutional Court confirms the results of parliamentary elections and validates the mandates of the MPs. Under Article 67 para. (3) of the Electoral Code, the contestations against the decisions taken by the electoral authority on summing up the election results and the allocation of mandates are examined concurrently with the confirmation of legality and validation of mandates.
On 5 December 2014, the Central Electoral Commission brought the matter before the Constitutional Court, asking to confirm the results of the parliamentary elections of 30 November 2014 and to validate the mandates of the elected MPs.
The claims of electoral candidates who contested the election results can be summarized as follows:
1) Annulment of the elections - requested by the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, the Political Party "Patriots of Moldova", and by the Electoral Bloc "Moldova's Choice - Customs Union";
2) Recount of votes - requested by the Reformist Communist Party of Moldova;
3) Redistribution of mandates and/with the allocation of an MP mandate - requested by the independent candidate, Mr Oleg Brega.
Some candidates contested the election results, with respect to the organization of polling stations abroad, the ban on voting with ex-Soviet passports and the electoral threshold for independent candidates. Since all these issues have been previously decided by the Constitutional Court, the Court did not consider it necessary to reconsider its case-law.
Most of the submitted complaints were rejected as ungrounded. However, the Court found infringements, related to the ambiguity of the law or its wrongful application by the authorities. I will address them briefly, the arguments being thoroughly presented in Constitutional Court's Judgment of 9 December on the validation of election results.
1. The participation of representatives of several political parties on joint electoral lists ("disguised" electoral blocs)
The Court held that, under the Electoral Code, as a candidate there may be registered a political party, an electoral bloc or an independent candidate. In line with Article 1 of the Electoral Code, an electoral bloc is a voluntary union of two or more parties and/or a union of socio-political organisations that was created for the purpose of a joint participation in elections, it being registered with the Central Electoral Commission. The Court held that the inclusion of representatives of two different parties on a single list means, in fact, "joint participation" in the elections, which under Article 1 of the Electoral Code, is defined as "electoral bloc". The Electoral Code does not allow for any other participation formula on "joint electoral lists". Moreover, the union of the two parties for "joint participation" in the elections, results from an express statement on the capacity of the candidate registered on the list'- as president of the second party. In this context, the Court draws Parliament's attention to the fact that, in order to ensure fair conditions to all the electoral contestants in the following elections, it is necessary for the authorities in charge of electoral matters to preclude situations where electoral blocs would disguise into a single political party.
2. Admission of use of similar election symbols
This is related to a confusion created in relation to the election symbols of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova and the Communist Reformist Party of Moldova. In this context, the Court held that the legality of the Decision no. 2739 of 10 October 2014 of the Central Electoral Commission on the registration of candidates for the office of MP from the Political Party "Communist Reformist Party in Moldova" and its electoral symbol was upheld by final and irrevocable Decision of the Civil, Commercial and Enlarged Administrative Litigation College of the Supreme Court of Justice from 13 November 2014. Thus, the symbol of the Communist Reformist Party of Moldova enjoys the authority of res judicata, the decisions of ordinary courts not being a subject matter of a review by the Constitutional Court.
Inter alia, the Court held that the function of party symbols is to identify the parties. By its very nature a party symbol is a sign subject to graphical representation, serving to distinguish it from other political parties. Therefore, the symbol must be designed in such a way that it would allow and ensure the opportunity for the voter to identify the party. Therefore, the symbols can be registered only if they are sufficiently different from previously registered symbols, excluding the risk of confusion (including the risk of association) among the public. Based on these findings, the Court urges the Parliament to operate the necessary changes in order to avoid situations that might create confusion among the uninitiated public between the identification elements of the contestants.
3. Exclusion from the race of an electoral contestant
For the first time in the history of the Republic of Moldova an electoral contestant was excluded from the race. It is the Political Party "PATRIA". The Central Electoral Commission submitted for review to the Constitutional Court the complaint of the Political Party "PATRIA" of 4 December 2014. As basis for excluding the political party "PATRIA" from the race there served the complaint of the General Police Inspectorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Judgment of the Civil, Commercial and Administrative Litigation College of the Supreme Court of Justice from 27 November 2014 and the Decision of the Civil, Commercial and Enlarged Administrative Litigation College of the Supreme Court of Justice from 29 November 2014.
Thus, the exclusion of the Political Party "PATRIA" enjoys the authority of res judicata, the decisions of ordinary courts not being a subject matter of a review by the Constitutional Court. With no power to review judicial decisions delivered by common law courts, I will limit myself to mentioning before the Parliament the concern of international observers regarding the accelerated process of exclusion from the electoral race of the Political Party "PATRIA".
I would like to mention one more detail regarding the request for vote recount. The recount of votes was requested only by a candidate - the Communist Reformist Party. This party indicated as basis for a recount of votes the copies of the minutes which were different from the authentic ones, submitted by the Central Election Commission. Otherwise no other electoral contestant has requested a recount of votes. Therefore, the complaint is devoid of subject matter, being rejected as ungrounded. The Court held that, the parallel counting conducted by "Promo-Lex" and by other contestants did not reveal any differences from the data provided by the Central Electoral Commission.
Stemming from the above, the Constitutional Court found that within the parliamentary elections of 30 November 2014 and within the process of counting of casted votes, no infringements of the Electoral Code as to substantially influence the outcome of elections and allocation of mandates occurred. The presented observations are not of such a nature as to lead to a different conclusion from the one to which has led the examination of allegations and of the evidence presented by the authors of complaints. Infringements found by the Electoral Commission and by the law courts are, as resulted from the presented evidence, a series of sequential elements that have not formed a phenomenon destined to change the will of the voters, meaning a change in the allocation of mandates.
In the exercise of its duties under the Constitution, the Constitutional Court confirmed that on 30 November 2014 the Moldovan Parliament was duly elected by universal, equal, direct, secret and freely expressed suffrage.