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Filat warns government against attempts to boycott referendum

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Aug. 18, 2010, 10:32 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat instructed law enforcement agencies to prevent attempts by some government institutions to boycott the organization of a constitutional referendum

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat has instructed law enforcement agencies to prevent attempts by some government institutions to boycott the organization of a constitutional referendum slated for September 5. Speaking at a government meeting on Tuesday, Filat said he had heard increasingly often of late that some governmental institutions had supported the idea of boycotting the referendum. He, however, did not name either of these institutions.

"I have pointed out repeatedly that the Republic of Moldova is a law-governed state, where everyone is entitled to express their own opinion. But the law should be observed. Therefore, I urge the Prosecutor General's Office, the Interior Ministry, the Information and Security Service, and the Center for Combating Economic Crime and Corruption to monitor the situation and uncover these unlawful actions by some government institutions," Filat said.

Filat also demanded that he be provided with updated information on the organization of polling stations for the September 5 referendum.

Some media outlets had reported earlier that village councils led by members of the Party of Communists had called on voters to boycott the referendum.

Earlier Party of Communists leader, Moldova's ex-President Vladimir Voronin, called on Moldovan citizens to boycott the constitutional referendum on September 5.

At the referendum the voters will be asked to answer whether they agree to amend the constitution in a way that a president be elected in a direct popular vote.

The incumbent Moldovan authorities are so trying to overcome a political crisis. The parliament has been unable to elect a president since September 2009.

In line with the amendments to the constitution passed in 2000, a president in Moldova is elected at the parliament by at least 61 out of the 101 votes. If the parliament lacks votes, the incumbent president has to dissolve the parliament and call early elections. The parliament was already dissolved by this procedure in June 2009, after which a new attempt to elect a president failed as well. The current parliament is also subject to dissolution.

In line with amendments to the Electoral Code that were passed recently, the referendum planned for September 5 will be considered valid if at least one third of eligible voters cast their ballots, and the constitution will be amended if at least half of those voting approve this. If the amendments are supported in the referendum, Moldova could hold parliamentary and presidential elections in November. If the voters do not support the idea to elect a president in a popular vote or the turnover is lower than that stipulated by the law, the acting president will have to dissolve the parliament and call early elections.

In this case, a new parliament will once again try to elect a president by three fifths of the votes.
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