The Zero Sector in the Parliament of Moldova
Last week, Brussels adopted a new Transparency Register. In contrast, the parliamentary majority in Chișinău dismantled the few transparent laws that were left in this compromised legislature, discarding laws that could support the fight against corruption.
On Tuesday, December 15, during a press conference, the European Parliament launched the Transparency Register. From now on, the members of Parliament, as well as of the Council and the European Commission, must declare their interests even more rigorously when launching any activity, explaining whether or not they have an interest in business or other benefits from this activity within the European institutions, including whether the family or their relatives would have personal interests in carrying out these activities paid for from the public budget.
“This document announces a new chapter on transparency in the European institutions,” European deputy Danuta Hubner said at a press conference, explaining that from now on obscure interests of some politicians could be better monitored.
Meanwhile, the Chișinău Parliament presented a show of how corrupt parties and their compromised leaders can protect their interests. The Socialist Party deputies readily voted laws that damaged democracy and rejected all bills proposed by opposition members.
At one point, Igor Munteanu, a deputy from the opposition faction Dignity and Truth Platform, submitted a vote on the Magnitsky Law, which would help stop money laundering and human rights abuses.
The Magnitsky Act was first adopted in the United States in response to how the Russian authorities tortured Serghei Magnitsky for reporting to Russian officials about money laundering and astronomical tax evasion.
Sergei Magnitsky died after being detained and tortured in Russian prisons, but the effect of his activity and activism is continuously felt in several countries around the world.
In September 2020, the EU Parliament discussed the adoption of a Magnitsky Law that would impose sanctions upon people from corrupt states involved in money laundering and hiding money and goods in European countries.
Moldova is probably best known in the world for the stolen billions and fugitive oligarchs, and its Parliament is full of deputies with criminal cases. The Magnitsky Law was put to vote in the Moldovan Parliament on December 16, after deputy Igor Munteanu revealed the law’s significance in the issue of money laundering. As the session was broadcast live, entire Moldova heard how the votes were counted when they voted the law: “Sector one – zero!” shouted the vote counter. To be mentioned that there is an electronic voting system in Parliament, purchased on public money. However, the Parliament doesn’t use it at all, and the deputies count their votes using their fingers and then shout them from the hall to Parliament’s chairman Zinaida Greceanii, who sits in the presidium and adds the votes on a sheet of paper.
“Sector one” is the tribune to the left of the meeting room, where the deputies of the Socialist Party have their seats. Last week, the vote counter of their section almost went dry shouting ‘zero votes’ at every bill the opposition submitted. The sector was fast renamed into the Zero Sector.
The deputies from Sector one, as well as their colleagues from the other two sectors, had zero interest in listening to the opposition’s arguments regarding the opinion of the National Integrity Authority and other institutions that explained the corruption risks of the draft laws voted in a row by the socialist majority together with those from Shor and a few so-called “independent” deputies.
Where is the Zero Sector of the Moldovan Parliament heading? Moldova signed an Association Agreement with the EU, committing itself to fight corruption and ensure the integrity of the political class. The Zero Sector is not heading in the right direction; it bends against the EU Parliament, which recently set up the Transparency Register in the Brussels Parliament.