20:50 06.03.2023

Over 100 opposition activists in Moldova attend rally against changing name 'Moldovan language' to 'Romanian language'

3 min read

Moldova's opposition Bloc of Communists and Socialists has protested outside the Constitutional Court in Chisinau against changing the name "Moldovan language" to "Romanian language."

Over a hundred opposition activists attended the protest, an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene on Monday. The protesters came with posters saying "Moldova, Moldovans, Moldovan," "Moldova's state language is Moldovan. Article 13 of the constitution." They chanted the slogan "Observe the constitution!" carrying Moldovan national flags.

Lawmaker Vasile Bolea said at the rally that people had come to the Constitutional Court because the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) "has encroached upon the most sacred thing that every Moldovan has - the language of mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers."

"The language of mothers and ancestors that we speak is the Moldovan language, which is enshrined in the constitution. Last week, the lawmakers of the majority decided at their 'local council' to amend the constitution with a regular bill. If they pass the bill in the second reading, we will be back to the Constitutional Court to protect the Moldovan language," the deputy said.

He said that the text of the fundamental law could be changed or repealed either through a referendum or through complicated parliamentary procedures, with the support of no more than two thirds of MPs.

"During the many crises provoked by PAS and the current head of state, the authorities have found nothing better to do than to bring up the name of the language," the leader of the Party of Communists and former president Vladimir Voronin said.

"The authorities, who promised citizens 'good times,' could do nothing and took up the language. In all the years we have been in power, we have not addressed the constitution or made any changes, not one comma has been changed. In the end, those who violate the constitution today will be held responsible," Voronin said.

Other Socialist lawmakers and public activists who advocate retaining the name "Moldovan language" also spoke at the rally. They promised to continue to protest and prevent the legislation's amendment.

The Moldovan parliament has passed in the first reading a bill making amendments to all national legislation, including the constitution of the Republic of Moldova, to replace the expression "the Moldovan language" with "the Romanian language".

The full title of the bill is "On Implementing the Considerations of Certain Rulings of the Constitutional Court". The bill authors have invoked three Constitutional Court rulings, including the one of December 5, 2013. According to this document, Moldova's state language is Romanian.

The constitution states that constitutional amendments may be adopted "by two thirds of parliamentarians" and "not earlier than six months upon the registration of the relevant draft legislation and only if the Constitutional Court has issued a positive review. Under the constitution of Moldova, "the constitution may not be revised during periods such as state of emergency, state of siege or under martial law."

Members of the ruling PAS faction in the Moldovan parliament argue that the above provisions would apply if constitutional amendments were submitted, while in this case they believe the parliament is dealing with a 'technical decision' to bring the constitution in conformity with the Constitution Court ruling. They emphasize that the rule applied de facto anyway, but there is a formal requirement to amend all legislative acts in accordance with the Constitutional Court ruling.

Previously, the Moldovan Academy of Sciences admitted that the correct name of the language is "Romanian". Romanian has been taught in all Moldovan schools and educational institutions since 1992.