Liviu Dragnea – a modern-day Nero

So far, any power shift in Romania took place within and via the country’s legislative body – the Parliament.

It was there, in Parliament, that majorities and minorities unraveled and were recreated again and again.

It was there, in Parliament, that some political parties died while others were reborn. And the system was as empirical as possible in its efficiency: political migration or party-switching. And nobody seemed really bothered during almost 30 years of Romanian democracy. So bothered as to propose and adopt radical legislative measures – starting with the Constitution – that would have changed things for the better for the Romanian state and for Romanians, in order to stop this form of confiscation, annulment or abusive takeover of power that not only completely disregards but also completely annuls popular will.

Sad, tragi-comical, crisis, chaos or however else we want to call it, Romanian politics and politicians took a significant step forward last week and these days… evolving. So much so, that we can compare the current governmental crisis to other governmental crises in Western states. And the comparison is limited to pretty much that. With us being happy that we can compare ourselves to others only in terms of disasters, not in terms of things better than that.

It is not at all sarcasm or cynicism. It is a raw and painfully realistic observation of the current political and national reality.

I do not know whether Mr Dragnea intended to be the artisan of this political development or whether it is simply a leadership error, however, somehow… he did it.

This time, the power balance starts from the Government, the executive institution, and will be made final – in the same eternal migratory formula – in Parliament. However, we must admit it. The methods, as mind-boggling as they may seem, have grown refined.

I have heard many opinions and scenarios these days. And all of them, regardless of their source, had a common point: unprecedented. Yes. Agreed. It is unprecedented.

Because of the aforementioned reason. And that’s about all. Apart from that, it is the same story typical for us: a political party and some politicians who prefer reaching for the guns and ruining the country to losing an inch of power.

Power that exclusively concerns the interest groups within PSD.

Just before last year’s parliamentary elections, I was talking about the vulnerable and volatile majority that PSD will obtain. The party that then took pride in the “historic score” it obtained and in an unbeatable power, flawless on all levels. However, it became visible, earlier than expected, that this majority is made of cardboard. The fact that this power is only apparent, very much mimed, will be proven soon, very soon.

Taking advantage of this all-mightiness obtained, PSD – or rather its current official leader, Liviu Dragnea – mixed up specific party issues with the issues of the Romanian state, likewise mixing up party infighting with the act of governing the country.

And Mr Dragnea mixed up something else too. He mixed up a party platform, presented during the elections campaign and overblown from the standpoint of electoral marketing, with actually governing Romania. Thus, this governing programme became Constitution, economic policy, fiscal policy, social policy and law alike, and… absolutely everything that concerns a country.

The governing programme has thus become the perfect political instrument for any… negotiation. The leitmotif of the PSD leader’s and the party’s existence, the universal excuse and the Romanian state’s reason for being. Of course, in Mr Dragnea’s view. So that it is no surprise that the same governing programme has also become the excuse to remove their own Government, appointed with great fanfare 6 months ago.

Also 6 months ago, when the PSD President was saying that, even though he allows the Premier and the ministers to do their job as they see fit, with him being but a humble secondary observer, he would nevertheless take great care to evaluate and censure the Government, nobody found this revolting or suspicious. It is logical that the party that nominates the Government should be directly interested in the latter having an excellent performance. But, asking rhetorically, is it natural for the Government to be directly led and controlled from the headquarters of a party?

And, no matter how much we joked about it these months, it is not natural at all to accept the fact that we have a puppet Premier who acts as a front for a party president whose influence is not only felt but is unanimously recognized at all institutional levels of the state. I believe the evidence is undeniable.

Through full homogenization and merger, the assessing of ministers, which should have represented strictly an internal party aspect, adjustable and without interference in the proper functioning of the state, has transformed into chaos, crisis and direct repercussion on the country. Reaching the point in which the party that nominated the Premier is the same that now tables a no-confidence motion against its Premier. Because, in the meantime, the same Premier realized, paradoxically, that he does not want to leave his office. And, moreover, that this office offers him, and others, the trump card that can be used in the power shift game within PSD.

Yes, at this moment, Sorin Grindeanu is a party member. A party member who seems to have gravely disregarded political directives, displaying disobedience, and who is consequently liable to exclusion and the withdrawal of political endorsement. Things that have in fact occurred. However, can we talk about the same situation in what concerns his capacity as Premier? Can we talk about lack of legitimacy in this case?

At the risk of seeming biased, I would note this: nobody seemed as bothered, and nobody suffered consequences and nobody was accused of betraying the electorate or of disregarding the elections, when a parliamentary configuration changed overnight because of political migration.

This in order to clarify the story about the current legitimacy of the Premier reneged by his own party.

Not to mention the legality or, more accurately put, the lack of legality clamored by one of the camps, which however does not go further than that to concretely name what law is broken when someone stands up to his party boss. Maybe we will introduce it when amending the Constitution?!?

As I was saying…

We are neither the first nor the last to have a governmental crisis. Shorter or longer. However, we can be the only state in which the ruling party sabotages and destabilizes the country and its people because of its internal power struggles.

As a minister, you cannot resign, strictly as a gesture of party-minded opposition, from the office you received not as an appointment from the party but as investiture from the Romanian state, via its citizens. You cannot behave solely as a party member holding public office and being at the disposal of some party leader.

Also as a minister, writing your resignation and then withdrawing at the height of political fighting, omitting the responsibilities you have, means something, once again.

Not leading the country because a party and a party leader have power interests means a gridlock with unimaginable repercussions for which someone must be held responsible.

Moreover, in case one is in the service of the state and of its citizens, this responsibility is not limited to the primordial, prone to blackmail, interchangeable and oligarchic party hierarchy or to a political leader’s will and power.

In 30 years, there have been many moments in which Parliament should have urgently convened for actual life-or-death issues that concerned us all. It never happened, not even once. On the other hand, what has happened, and is still happening, is that essential laws have been rapidly passed because doing so was politically necessary and useful. Committees set up so that some would lose and others would win, Parliament urgently convened at midnight and over the weekend because a motion must rapidly go through the legislative circuit and some things must happen. Obviously, Romanians were never the beneficiaries of these forceful marathons and these shows of force.

So, days or maybe weeks of fire are up next for us all. A fire that can purify and regenerate from the ground up the entire Romanian post-1989 history, or that can turn Romania into a waste of fire and ashes, backdrop in which a political leader, struck by a sinister epiphany, is writing odes to himself and with them the epitaph of a country.

 

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