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Moldova court upholds ban on dual citizenship for parliament members

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Moldova [official website] has upheld a recent law barring certain government officials from holding dual citizenship. The controversial law no. 273 [backgrounder, PDF] was passed by the Communist Party in April 2008 and, among other provisions, requires citizens to relinquish foreign passports before taking a seat in parliament. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [decision, text] in November that the law violated the right to free elections mandated in Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text]. The case was referred [text] to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR and will be heard on September 16, 2009. According to the Central Election Commission [official website, in Romanian] of Moldova, about half [RFE report] of the non-Communist candidates who were elected to parliament in April hold dual citizenship.

The population of the area in which Moldova is located lost Romanian citizenship after being annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. In April, the Constitutional Court ordered [JURIST report] the nation's Central Election Commission to conduct a recount of the controversial parliamentary election in which the Communist Party won a majority of seats. Later that month, the Constitutional Court validated the recount results [JURIST report]. Opposition groups claimed that falsified voter registration rolls allowed government officials to fabricate votes and boycotted the recount [Infotag report], opting instead to check voter lists for irregularities.

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