What kind of political regime does Romania have at this moment?
It’s a legitimate question from which we can start, in any direction, an analysis as impartial as possible on the way things are going in our state politics.
The uninterrupted torrent of events on the plane of current Romanian politics has connotations and effects that are not at all positive, but increasingly grave, risking to definitively compromise the equilibrium of the internal dynamic of the state and of Romanian democracy. And the sum of these events may provoke backsliding – of the country and of Romanians – off the road and into a landscape that does not have the faintest link with the civilised world and with its values or with a modern, democratic political regime of a rule of law state.
The previous political crisis provoked by the same people who are engaged in politics in Romania (a crisis that this time around hit the state’s governing area) has barely ended that we have already reached, almost instantaneously, another level of scandal and gregarious shock: another episode in the unending saga of fiery revelations that this time came from Rise Project journalists.
These revelations have as a subject and object Liviu Dragnea and the system of mafia networks that he and his camarilla – now in power – seem to have weaved and implemented within the entire state structure in time, creating a veritable monopoly over the country’s resources and vital levers.
At a first glance, the content of these fresh revelations seems to unravel the mystery of the reasons behind the intangibility and omnipotence that PSD’s current leader apparently has and controls unequivocally, discretionarily, indifferent to any warning, pressure, or attempt to stop this infernal steamroller.
And for everything to be even more mindboggling and spectacular, like everything taking place in Romania, the interminable scandal at the bosom of the Judiciary has been restarted, overlapping this latest media bombshell that reveals and exposes an important part that constitutes the huge web of underground corruption that Romania has been facing for well over two and a half decades.
The scandal that now has at its centre the most important institution fighting state corruption, the DNA, and, last but not least, Laura Codruta Kovesi, its Chief Prosecutor. Nevertheless, antagonising and demonising the DNA and Codruta Kovesi was a process that started some time before this moment, as a prelude or opening to what was to follow and has just occurred.
Laura Codruta Kovesi started to be transformed – methodically and surely for some time now – from the positive heroine of the Romanian nation, one engaged in a life and death struggle with the hydra that devours and annihilates Romanian democracy and stability, into a pariah.
A good fruit that, once it got into contact with the rotten environment and the fumes generated by power, was irredeemably touched by the lethal microbe of the plague against which it fought for years, losing not only the credibility and intransigence it seemed to prove in previous years and for which she was so much and highly praised by the very ones that have now turned against her, but especially the right to be one of the top “redeeming generals” in this never-ending war that has been decimating for decades Romania and its image in the world.
Hence, the political war machine and the ruling power’s personal and personalised squadrons have proceeded to carrying out systematic, massive attacks on the judiciary, using without too much scruples or refinement, but with a lot of profit and with obvious satisfaction, the golden rule that is the basis of any manipulation to the benefit and support of staying in power – Divide et impera!
The DNA has its feet once again put to the fire, because of infighting between the helm of the institution and its various levels. A predictable burst, I would dare say. Only postponed for a period, time in which Liviu Dragnea & Co. were a bit busy knitting a Government “crisis,” several small and symbolic changes to the “Holy Book of Governing” and rearranging the group photo of the newer Premier and the chamber chorus behind him.
Then it was the turn of the press. Because, isn’t it so, alongside the judiciary the press represents one of the pillars of power in the state and a guarantor of the defence of the fundamental principles of democracy in all civilised countries of the world. At least theoretically.
Set on the press were the ferocious and grizzly hounds of the ANAF. Another important state institution that, also theoretically and in principle, should ensure stability, credibility, trust, transparency, impartiality and especially, especially!!!!, equidistance from any area of political influences and state power. But an institution that proves it was unable to get away from the same nefarious infestation via direct contact with the extensive and omnipresent political octopus, becoming another instrument, one of the many and powerful instruments of the rulers of the day, which sends shivers down the spines of Romanians and is perceived by anyone as a sort of gathering of tax collectors mixed with repo men who act at the whim of the ruler.
It is said that, completely by chance, last week, ANAF inspectors raided two newspaper offices – Rise Project and Hotnews. Precisely after the two press groups published the first wave of revelations about the complicated, meandering and mysterious labyrinth of corruption that Liviu Dragnea and the court lackeys around him have built and have managed for years, both in the country and abroad. And precisely during the period in which the two press groups were preparing to reveal other pieces of evidence from the same cycle. The raid took place incognito and by force, and its justification was an “anonymous” letter that came in a package with a risk analysis authored by the inspectors of that institution.
Obviously, as usual, Liviu Dragnea was extremely astonished and horrified by the hypothetical abomination according to which these mysterious phenomena that shook poor Romania from its foundations (those still left intact and capable to prop up something pertaining to the state and to democracy) had the faintest link with some command of his own or some of his thoughts of revenge. That everything is, undoubtedly, an abject manipulation coming from the enemies of the PSD leader! Who are trying to smear and destroy the impeccable image and the exceptional good intentions that the leader of the left wing has in what concerns the Romanian state and the Romanians.
However, aside from any ill-intentioned mystification and any press spectacle, no matter how full of adrenaline or elements of mass hypnosis meant to keep the public opinion busy and distracted from the real problems it would be, the gravity entailed by this entire unending “war” between the political class and any part of the state, more or less politicized, there are the real effects of these unending convulsions and crises, which have become a country emblem and a lethal disease that slowly but surely gnaws away any chance for Romania to still be able to come out from under the nefarious sign of corruption and dissolution under which it has been sitting for almost thirty years.
For years, Romania has been struggling in a continuous war waged between the political power and state institutions, between various groups of interest that held power at one point and factions of the same groups, which wanted to fully take over that power, between the judiciary and the political class, between the political class and the press, between the press and the press, between the citizens and the political class, between citizens and citizens, etc. etc.
For years, Romania has been searching for stability and political, social, but especially European and global identity. And this identity for which several generations have made unimaginable sacrifices and continue to make them is far from being at least discovered. Not to mention outlined, stabilised and enriched in some democratic way.
In Romania, there have been and there continue to be political regimes initiated and implemented based on a combination on circumstances. Each of them in relation to the temporary interests of the political group that was in power, rotationally or not, since 1989 until today.
In Romania, there hasn’t yet been a unitary, predictable political regime united in vision and interests with the Romanian state and with Romanians.
In Romania of the almost thirty years of alleged democracy, state institutions have become, in turn and alike, instruments with dramatic and discretionary connotations in the hands of the ruling power. Irrespective of whether that ruling power was right-wing, left-wing, centre-left or centre-right, technocratic or autocratic, solitary in the person of a head of state or autonomous and oligarchic in the person of a party leader.
Consequently, in the Romania of 2017, the rule of law – the guarantor and the essence of any democracy in the world – is only an abstraction and only a form of populism, demagoguery, a dangerous instrument of manipulation and control in the hands and in the discourse of the whole political conglomerate. Because in the Romania of 2017, the judiciary consumes itself, galvanised and deprived of its importance and instruments by a political power that nobody and nothing seems able to stop any more in its aberrant Frankenstein-like growth.
And the credibility of the powers that the judiciary can still or could still have in Romania, that of being independent, impartial, unbiased, also preserving and guaranteeing the fundamental principles of democracy, is gradually becoming a matter of fairy tale or a metaphor of a hyperbolic Romanian democracy.
Because, as is well known, trust and credibility are not demanded in the absence of any proof of truth or just for half-truths. They must be won through actions that, unfortunately, in Romania’s case, are waited for dozens of years and show no signs of being born anytime soon.
That is why I believe one of the imperious and vital problems that Romanians should no longer make any kind of allowance for when it comes to voting on the political class and on any of its positions or initiatives that can be censured via voting is that of amending the Constitution in the aspects that concern the trenchant, distinct and unequivocal redefining and outlining of all those state institutions that must mandatorily remain – for good – outside any political influence of any nature. The Judiciary and the Press topping their long list.
Otherwise, there is the dangerous and imminent risk that, in the shortest of times, Romania would turn from an incipient democracy into a recurrent kleptocracy.