Waiting for the new president

Although the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) dreamt of a minority government very much like the Liberal cabinet, it nonetheless neglected its parliamentary base. The Social-Democrats did not just wait and see but sided with a motion censure which toppled the government, a first for the post-communist period in this country. It all takes place on the backdrop of coming elections. The electoral campaign is therefore played between parties rather than candidates. Traian Basescu can only be defeated by a coalition, this is what his opponents have rightly inferred. Nonetheless, it all relies on a sound conjectural alliance.

The coming election turns into an alternative governance actually. A different president that calls for a government of a different leaning. Even if the incumbent president gets elected, the new coalition could prove irreplaceable if it persists in its opposition to the president’s party. Continued from Page 1

Each of the parties that voted the motion did it from reasons of their own, though convergent in claiming partnership in a new government. Social-Democrat leader Mircea Geoana also needs to affiliate to a joint front larger than his own party.

Lacking the image trumps Traian Basescu has, Geoana should forge a strong political coalition, in order to channel the discontentment and seduce voters with a change project. The ‘change’ reason is one of the few that still work on the electoral collective imagination. For that, a clear distancing is required from former governing partners, even if this gesture is late and much too circumstantial. Mircea Geoana also needs stronger support in a potential second ballot against Traian Basescu. An electoral coalition, no matter which one would diminish the emotions of a last-minute second thought. Liberals, in their turn, sought a way out of the opposition slot without chance of stirring something. An Antonescu-Geoana pact could re-launch earlier than thought a party marginalized after being ousted from power. As to the Magyars, their leader, Marko Bela, imposed an alternative opposed to attempts by some of his fellow party leaders at joining a Democrat-Liberal government. If the three parties persist towards joining forces and making it official, it would be difficult, even for a re-elected president to oppose a fresh parliamentary majority. The political future should nonetheless take into count the outcome of the presidential election.

President Basescu has already gained the experience of a political cohabitation that eroded his image too, though partially. Even more so if a confident and aggressive coalition is the case. The serving president built for himself the image of a leader able to have his say so that the drastic limitation of his initiatives by a cohabitation could prove deadly for him eventually. All of the aforementioned are but untested political calculations regarding electoral-minded plans. Practically, however, a new government could only be formed after the first round of the presidential election or even after the second.

The incumbent president can delay the process so that his victory could raise the issue in a way different than he is able to do it now. A technocratic government appears as the only acceptable solution for now for this conjectural alliance and the special situation at this moment. There is neither the time nor the place for coalition government negotiations. Actually, the new allies are not so bold as to propose just any alternative to the outcome of presidentials. Circulating the name of the Sibiu mayor is an ultimate solution more than anything else, although the situation could prove viable politically speaking, under certain conditions. The current confusion results from the presidential election acquiring all too high a stake, being associated with implicit ‘parliamentary’ elections.

Sine the president’s role is an important, yet not decisive, one, the mere focusing on one candidate or another is not enough to motivate voters and dissatisfying for the outcome of confrontation between parties. What is deceiving however is the level of expectations from this election, which shows certain opportunism, as formation of a new majority is not dependent on a new president. Still, the president’s position is tempting enough for making political strategies worthwhile.

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