Moldovan constitutional referendum, 2010

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The Moldovan referendum of 2010 was a nationwide referendum in Moldova held on 5 September on whether or not the country should amend the Constitution of Moldova to return to direct popular election of the president instead of 3/5 of total number of seats parliament vote as it is now.[1] and resulted in failure due to an insufficient turnout: 30.29% as opposed to the necessary 33% for the referendum to be considered valid.[2]

The voters are asked to answer the following question "Would you agree with the Constitutional amendment, which would allow the election of the President of the Republic of Moldova by the entire population?", voting for one of the proposed options: “Yes (for)” or “No (against)”. Of those who had cast their vote, 87.83% chose "Yes".[2]

Background[edit]

As the constitution cannot be changed by parliamentary vote against the will of the opposition Communist Party (PCRM), which holds enough seats to block any constitutional changes by parliamentary vote, the ruling coalition decided to bypass it by holding a referendum on the question.[3]

The new Constitution was initially adopted by the Parliament by 50+1 votes. A national referendum was then approved by a simple majority in parliament for the people to express their opinion on the new Constitution.[3][4]

The proposal also changed the name of the state language from "Moldovan" to "Romanian." According to Ghimpu, the Romanian language must be the official language of Moldova.[3]

The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe reacted initially favorably to a proposed constitutional reform, in particular to revise the existing procedure of electing president of the republic.[5] However, after a plenary meeting in March 2010, the Commission suggested to hold early parliamentary elections instead of conducting a constitutional referendum. The Commission also stressed that the current parliament should be dissolved after adopting the proposal for constitutional reform and that this proposal should take effect for the next parliament.[6]

On 9 March 2010, the four leaders of the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) decided to organize the referendum before June 16, 2010 in order to adopt the 2010 constitution.[7][8] Ghimpu stated that he was not going to dissolve the Parliament in case of defeat on September 2010.[9]

The opposition Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) suggested to lower the validity threshold for future presidential elections from 61 to 51, a simple majority. However, the communists insisted that this change would be in force only after the next parliamentary elections, whereas the ruling coalition wanted to introduce the changes before such elections. After negotiations with the communists have failed, the AEI used its simple majority advantage in the parliament on 7 July 2010 to pass the referendum proposal. In addition, the electoral code was amended by lowering the necessary voter turnout from 60% to 33%, reducing the effectiveness of a boycott[10]

The PCRM together with several other parties urged the voters to boycott the referendum, hoping to push the turnout below the 33% necessary for validation of the referendum’s result.[11]

Moldovan citizens living abroad were allowed to participate in the referendum. The deputy prime minister, Iurie Leancă, said that 130,000 ballot papers were requested for the 78 polling stations which opened abroad, 1,600 for each of them.[12]

Opinion polls[edit]

According to the Chişinău-based Institute of Marketing and Polls IMAS-INC, a poll held between July 26 and August 12 showed that 91% of the people will vote "yes" (for) and that about 73% of Moldova's population was ready to take part in the referendum.[13][14]

Participants[edit]

Political parties were not registered as electoral contestants in the referendum, but they could register as participants in the referendum, with the Central Election Commission of Moldova having required them to declare their position via two options: “yes (for)” or “no (against)”.[2]

International observers[edit]

"The Council of Europe and a European Union delegation financed 20 teams of observers on behalf of NGOs from Moldova, which went abroad. At the same time, the Council of Europe and the EU sent at least 20 observers to monitor the holding of the referendum in the country," Iurie Leancă said.[12]

The head of the observer mission from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Andreas Gross, praised the referendum as being well organised and corresponding to democratic standards.[15]

Results and reaction[edit]

Prime Minister Vlad Filat suggested that the referendum's failure was due not only to the boycott called by the Communists, but also to splits within the governing alliance.[16]

Moldovan constitutional referendum, 2010
Choice Votes  %
Referendum failed No 97,999 12.17%
Yes 707,468 87.83%
Valid votes 805,467 98.42%
Invalid or blank votes 12,962 1.58%
Total votes 818,429 100.00%
Turnout required 33.33%
Source: www.alegeri.md

Aftermath[edit]

After the referendum failed to meet the 33% turnout required to validate the results, the Alliance for European Integration announced that it would consult the Constitutional Court of Moldova on dissolving parliament and holding new elections.[17] After the Constitutional court has confirmed the need for new elections, these were scheduled for 28 November 2010.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]