A Moldovan court annuls a ban on an alleged pro-Russia party that removed it from local elections #Moldovan #court #annuls #ban #alleged #proRussia #party #removed #local #elections

An appeals court in Moldova has annulled a decision that banned hundreds of candidates from an alleged pro-Russia political party from participating in an electoral race days ahead of a nationwide ballot

ByThe Associated Press

December 12, 2023, 8:32 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova — An appeals court in Moldova’s capital on Tuesday annulled a decision that banned hundreds of candidates from an alleged pro-Russia political party from participating in an electoral race days ahead of a nationwide ballot.

The Chisinau Court of Appeal overturned the ban on the Chance Party that had been enforced by Moldova’s Commission for Exceptional Situations on Nov. 3 — two days before the Nov. 5 local elections. The ban removed about 600 candidates from the ballot in the country of about 2.5 million people. The party had legally challenged the ban.

Alexei Lungu, the Chance Party’s leader, reacted to the appeal court’s decision on Tuesday by claiming that Moldova’s state authorities had “acted illegally” and said the ban had “violated fundamental human rights and the right to free elections.”

Moldova’s government spokesperson, Daniel Voda, said after the court’s decision that it will challenge it at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Justice. “We will defend the right of state institutions to protect our national security interests from organized criminal groups,” he said.

On the day that the Chance Party was banned, Moldova’s Intelligence and Security Service, SIS, published a report alleging that Russia was trying to “influence the electoral process” through the party.

SIS alleged in a 32-page report that the party had received about 50 million euros ($53 million) in Russian money, which had been channeled by exiled Moldovan oligarch Ilan Shor and used to destabilize the country and “buy” voters.

Shor, who resides in Israel and was sentenced in absentia in April to 15 years in jail on fraud charges, was the head of the Russia-friendly Shor Party, which was declared unconstitutional in June by Moldova’s Constitutional Court.

That decision came after the party held monthslong protests against the pro-Western government, which accused the party of trying to destabilize the country.

#Moldovan #court #annuls #ban #alleged #proRussia #party #removed #local #elections

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