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Moldova Govt to Appeal as Court Scraps Ban on Oligarch’s Party

The Chisinau Court of Appeal on Tuesday annulled the decision of the Commission for Exceptional Situations, CSE, made two days before the November 5 local elections, banning the “Sansa” [Chance] party, affiliated to the fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, from the elections.

The government announced that it would appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice against this decision in order to protect national security from organised criminal groups trying to influence political life in the country.

The leader of the Sansa party, Alexei Lungu, said the court decision showed that the state authorities had acted illegally and abusively.

Lungu announced that he will ask the General Prosecutor’s Office to file a criminal case against government spokesman Daniel Voda for alleged “interference with justice and pressure on judges”.

For his part, Voda said he was not afraid. “Without fear and with a lot of courage, I go forward, with a lot of dedication for the thing I respect. We’ll tell the truth loud and clear,” he replied.

Meanwhile, the president of parliament, Igor Grosu, told a TV talk show that such decisions show why the extraordinary evaluation – vetting – of magistrates is necessary. “The justice system must be purged of judges who believe that such thugs [like Shor] will return to power,” he said. “They [judges who oppose justice reform] must understand that things are irreversible regarding the vetting process,” said Grosu.

The Commission for Exceptional Situations excluded candidates of the Sansa Party from the elections on November 3, two days before the first round of the local elections.

Prime Minister Dorin Recean announced the ban after the director of the Intelligence and Security Service, Alexandru Musteata, declared that the party was corrupting voters and getting money from Russia. Recean specified that, in recent months, the party had received over one billion lei [50 million euros] from Russia.

“For the first time in the country’s history, they have started buying elections literally, that’s what they do – money for candidates, voters and election officials. We have an enemy actor from outside, the Russian Federation, which, with these vast sums and paid through a cross-border organised criminal network, wants to destroy Moldova,” said Recean.

Experts observing democratic processes and political analysts deemed the ban justifiable but harsh. Experts said the decision to exclude the party should have been taken earlier.

On June 19, the Constitutional Court declared the party led by Shor unconstitutional. It argued that the party had “acted in contradiction with the principles of the rule of law and endangered the sovereignty and independence of Moldova”.

Shor was sentenced in April 2023 to 15 years in prison for the “Grand Theft” of one billion US dollars from three Moldovan private banks. In June 2019, after Vladimir Plahotniuc’s regime lost power in Moldova, Shor fled to Israel. There is little chance of him being extradited as he also holds Israeli citizenship.

Source : BalkanInsight