Council of Europe's Congress concerned about Dorin Chirtoacă's case

On 23rd October 2017, in Strasbourg, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe examined the report presented on 19th October 2017 by Gunn Marit Helgesen (Sweden EPP/CCE) concerning the situation of Dorin Chirtoacă , Mayor of Chișinău and Vice-president of the Congress. Ms Helgesen had visited Chișinău in August 2017 and met Mr Chirtoacă , who had been under house arrest since 26th May 2017 and suspended from his office of mayor. She also met with Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Center, representatives of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM) and the Minister of Justice.

The situation of the mayor of Chisinau raises the concern of the Congress, particularly with regard to the non-respect of several articles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by Moldova in 1997. In particular, the report underlines the fact that the elected mayor of the capital of the Republic of Moldova has been suspended by a judicial authority. The replacement of the mayor by an unelected local government officer and the organisation of a local recall referendum, scheduled for November and aimed at curtailing the mayor’s term of office, is also a matter of concern for the Congress.

Suspending and detaining a mayor in the absence of a court judgment is a serious matter and constitutes a violation of a fundamental right,” said Ms Helgesen.

The Congress undertook to closely monitor the situation of the Mayor of Chișinău by organising a fact-finding mission which will give rise to a recommendation on the basis of the commitments made by the Republic of Moldova on local democracy. It also requested an opinion from the Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe ("Venice Commission") on the constitutionality of the local recall referendum scheduled for 19 November 2017.

All this information will be taken into account in the monitoring exercise on the situation of local and regional democracy in the Republic of Moldova planned for 2018, particularly in the light of the complaint sent to the Congress in the meantime by the Moldovan Association Local Authorities (CALM), which denounces numerous pressures being brought to bear on local elected representatives through court proceedings.

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