Tănase v. Moldova: multiple readings of a case concerning multiple nationality

To be honest, our team’s first reaction when discussing the recent Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Tănase v. Moldova was rather dismissive.  We had the feeling that the Court was teaching Moldova the basics of what it means to be a democracy; a thing they would hardly do in a case concerning, say, Belgium, France or the Netherlands.

The case concerns Moldovan Law no. 273, which prohibits people with multiple nationalities sitting as Member of Parliament. This law was introduced a year before the general elections and was the third aspect of an electoral reform package, whose other measures consisted of raising the electoral threshold and banning electoral blocks. As the Court notes, “All the measures proposed had a detrimental impact on the opposition” (par. 168). This makes that the Court is not satisfied that the aim of the law was to secure loyalty of MP’s, as Moldova maintained (par. 170).

The Court puts it politely, but it is quite clear what the judges think of such exclusionary practices as adopted by the governing party. Continue reading