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Moldova's judiciary obsolete, ruinous - Friedrich Naumann Foundation

Moldova's judiciary obsolete, ruinous - Friedrich Naumann Foundation Moldova - 2017 Freedom Barometer

CHISINAU (Moldova), December 18 (SeeNews) - Moldova is facing a severe lack of justice independence, generalised corruption and limited press freedom, a report issued by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation shows.

"Lack of independence of judiciary is the main obstacle to the implementation of the rule of law in Moldova. The state of judiciary is obsolete and ruinous. Incompetence, nepotism, selective justice and corruption are widespread. Political pressure on judges or removal of non-compliant or critical ones is a visible and repeated practice," the Europe Edition of Freedom Barometer published by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation reads.

However, a reform of judiciary is under way, albeit very slowly and so far superficially, the study showed.

Both high level and petty corruption are widespread in the country. High level one includes participation of the financial authorities in the international money laundering schemes, while the petty one is most present in education, healthcare and police.

"Anti-corruption and integrity-enhancing independent bodies are weak, even though - in 2016 - efforts were made by lawmakers to establish new ones and to narrow the ground for possible corruption via liberalization of parts of the economy," the study said.

Although the elected government in Moldova has the power to govern the country, there are a number of players whose influence and interference can undermine the decision making process.

One of them is oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, leader of ruling Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), who controls the parliamentary majority and who is able to navigate the country’s politics via prime minister Pavel Filip, who is his close friend, as well as through the president of the parliament, Adrian Candu, his godson.

Plahotniuc controls the television market with an ownership share of 70%, representing four out of five TV channels with national coverage, according to Freedom House.

Thus, although media landscape is pluralistic, diversity of opinions is limited. "Press in Moldova is partly free due to the strong influence of media owners on journalists reporting, to political pressure, to concentration of ownership and to an increase of verbal intolerance towards journalists."

Moldova obtained a good score regarding the fairness of its elections and has made progress in ensuring the protection of human rights and in improving the business environment, according to the report.

The total score of 53.1 points which includes 10 subcategories places the country at 23rd place, ahead Bosnia and Herzegovina and after Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia.

The report is based on data covering the 12 month-period between July 2016 and June 2017.

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