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Moldova to ban pro-Russian party members from running for election

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 4, 2023 2:50 PM 2 min read
Workers fix an election campaign billboard depicting Moldova's parliamentary candidate Ilan Shor and reading both in Romanian and Russian "Ilan Shor (is) for the people" in Chisinau on Feb. 13, 2019. (Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Moldovan parliament is set to approve amendments to the election code that will ban members of the pro-Russian Shor party from participating in elections, the parliament's speaker Igor Grosu said on Oct. 4.

The Constitutional Court previously declared Shor "unconstitutional" and banned the party in June.

However, the Court announced on Oct. 3 that individual Shor members could take part in local elections scheduled for November as independent candidates or members of other parties.

Grosu said that the new amendments would "fill the gap" in the law that currently allows the members of the still-banned party to be elected.

The head of the party, Ilan Shor, is pro-Kremlin businessman who lives in Israel. The West and the Moldovan government have accused him of trying to destabilize the country.

He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for fraud and money laundering in April.

Shor and his party have been under U.S. sanctions since October 2022. In May, the European Union imposed sanctions against him due to his association with the Russian government and because of his role in the pro-Russian unrest in Moldova.

According to Grosu, the amendments will introduce criteria for restricting certain individuals from the right to be elected, based on information from the police, National Anti-Corruption Center, the Information and Security Service, and the General Prosecutor's Office.

The Central Election Commission will then approve the list of those who do not have the right to participate in elections.

"Organized crime groups are incompatible with democracy," and pose a "threat to national security and the process of free and fair elections," Grosu said.

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