Cyprus Mail

Moldova clears way for members of banned pro-Russia party to run in elections

file photo: a ceremony marking the moldovan state flag day in chisinau
FILE PHOTO: The Moldovan flag files during a ceremony marking the State Flag Day in Chisinau, Moldova April 27, 2023. REUTERS/Vladislav Culiomza/File Photo

Moldova’s Constitutional Court cleared the way on Tuesday for members of a banned pro-Russian party to run in local elections as independent candidates or as members of other parties.

The court’s ban on the opposition Shor party, imposed in June, still stands.

The court issued its latest decision after considering a complaint by members of the party, which is headed by exiled businessman Ilan Shor and accused by the West and the Moldovan government of trying to destabilise the country.

Announcing the ruling, a senior court member, Serghei Turcan, said an amendment banning Shor party members from participating in elections “had no objective criteria and was too general” and did not respect the right to be elected.

The local elections, including for city mayors, take place on November 5. Shor’s allies have registered a new party called “Chance”, and a party that already existed, “Revival”, is considered close to Shor.

Marina Tauber, a senior Shor party leader, hopes to run as an independent candidate for mayor in Balti, Moldova’s second largest city.

Shor, who lives in Israel, was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail in April over a $1 billion bank scandal and money laundering, and has had sanctions imposed on him by the United States and European Union.

The Constitutional Court declared his party unconstitutional in June after months of protests led by the party, at which demonstrators demanded the resignation of President Maia Sandu and her pro-Western government over rising prices.

Sandu has accused Shor of attempting to destabilise Moldova and undermine the former Soviet republic’s bid to join the EU. She has also accused Russia of plotting to overthrow her.

Shor has denied the protests were part of a Russian threat or of attempts to destabilise Moldova, which borders Ukraine and EU member Romania.

Russia, which has about 1,500 troops stationed in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria, has denied plotting to overthrow Sandu.

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