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Moldovan President Signs Disputed Bill On Mixed Electoral System

Moldovan President Igor Dodon (file photo)

CHISINAU -- Moldovan President Igor Dodon has signed into law a controversial bill introducing a mixed electoral system despite mass protests in Chisinau.

Thousands rallied in Chisinau on July 20 as Moldovan lawmakers approved the bill in its final reading. The new law provides for half of the lawmakers to be elected on party lists and another half in individual constituencies.

The ruling Democratic Party initially pushed forward the idea to fully abandon party lists system, but opposition parties protested saying the ruling party's goal was to secure its victory in 2018 parliamentary elections amid its declining popularity.

Lawmakers from the opposition Communist Party, Liberal Democratic Party, and Liberal Party left the parliament premises during the vote in protest, arguing that the Venice Commission -- a consultatory body of the Council of Europe -- had recommended not adopting the bill without a political consensus.

Protesters, meanwhile, marched from the parliament building to the presidential administration building on July 20, calling on Dodon not to endorse the legislation.

However, Dodon wrote on Facebook hours after the bill was approved by lawmakers that he had signed the bill into law.

The protesters said earlier that they will resume their rallies on July 21.