OPINION POLL/Why President Igor Dodon and the Socialist Party Want to Amend the Constitution?

OPINION POLL/Why President Igor Dodon and the Socialist Party Want to Amend the Constitution?
31 July 2020 | 12:08

President Igor Dodon and the Socialist Party want to change Moldova’s Constitution, using Russia’s Constitution as a model. 

“Moldova is carefully studying Russia’s experience in order to amend the Constitution … We are trying to identify what should be changed in our Constitution,” Moldova’s Ambassador in Moscow, Andrei Neguță, stated during the last meeting with Konstantin Kosachev, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia’s Federation Council. 

In June 2020, Russia held a referendum to amend the Constitution. According to the new amendments to the Constitution, Putin will remain in power until 2036. 

To understand why the Socialist Party and Dodon want to amend the Constitution based on the Russian Constitution, and whom would the amended Constitution serve ZdG asked the experts.

Lilian Carp, Deputy in the Action and Solidarity Party parliamentary faction

Amending the Constitution is not a new idea. Dodon declared repeatedly in the press that he wants a presidential republic. Recently, he mentioned that he would like a presidential republic in which the president’s term is seven years instead of four. The “loan” is clearly from the Russians. Who will benefit from amending Moldova’s Constitution based on Russia’s Constitution? Moscow. Putin. Obviously, in a parliamentary republic, a four-year term does not allow them to implement the plan for Moldova’s federalization… Moscow needs a successful example of federalization in a post-Soviet conflict zone, setting a precedent and launching a broader process of rebuilding the former Soviet Union. Previously, Putin declared the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.

Alexandru Tănase, Ex-President of the Constitutional Court

Mr. Neguță’s statements correspond to his understanding of the role of the Constitution in a democratic state. In reality, there is nothing to learn from Russia in the field of constitutional law. Constitutionalism is the perfection of the rule of law. Constitutionalism does not exist without democracy. 

Throughout its history, Russia knew what constitutionalism meant only during 1997-1999 until the current Kremlin leader took control of state power. Today, the Russian Constitution is a stunt. Declared a federal state, Russia is an ultra-centralized state. Political pluralism is a façade. In the State Duma, there are represented exclusively parties affiliated to the Kremlin. Freedom of expression is purely declarative. In Russia, you risk years in prison for an elementary post on social networks. It is the same with the freedom of assembly, the right to privacy… 

Despite our problems, Moldova is a democratic state, where there is a change of government every four-eight years. Thus, Moldova has nothing to learn from the Putin regime and the newly amended constitution. We have enough models of European democracies, and we could learn from them.

Alexandru Arseni, University Teacher

Plutarchus said that when someone does what he wants, there is a great danger that he will want to do what is not needed. What Dodon or Neguța want to do is just what they shouldn’t do. 

The constitution is the fundamental law of society. It is meant to limit the power of governments. For these reasons, the Constitution enjoys supremacy… Amending the constitution should be done in the interest of the entire society. The amendments shouldn’t be done based on fantasies or hubris, characteristic of authoritarian regimes. 

Russia’s constitutional practice is contrary to the principles of the rule of law and democracy. Subsequently, changing Moldova’s Constitution based on Russia’s experience pursues only one goal – the violation of the principle of national sovereignty and the establishment of an authoritarian political regime in Chisinău, subordinate to Russia.

Stela Jantuan, Political Analyst

Taking as an example the newly changed Russian Constitution equals Igor Dodon’s goal to return to the presidential system and strengthen the role and competencies of the country’s president, a statement he made while running for his first term during the 2016 presidential elections. 

Now, Dodon is verifying through his acolytes the reaction of society and of the political class to this idea, which he will surely use during the electoral campaign to bewitch the pro-Russian voters. However, Dodon will not succeed in becoming Moldova’s Putin. Firstly, he has no political partners to support him in this regard. I do not think that the Democratic Party, which is in coalition with the Socialist Party, will accept this important change of the political paradigm. Secondly, a referendum to change the Constitution is possible only after the presidential election and has no retroactive power. Moreover, voting the referendum in Parliament requires a constitutional majority (67 votes), which Dodon does not have.

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