Dreams of majesty of the small ones

The situation of Sunday’s election is quite unusual. So far, the local election was more or less the sign of a close political metamorphosis. They were the first campaign of a bigger electoral war meant to change the colour of the power. This time, however, the change happened a short while ago. Before, they were trying to conquer local strongholds first to besiege the central one at last. Now, things go the other way around. Of course that the novelty of the situation should not be treated as absolute, but it shouldn’t be ignored either. In principle, USL should take advantage of the recent access to power and consolidate its position based on the general principle that the winner is always supported.A considerable share of the electorate is opportunistic and supports those who seem to be riding the wave. This is why symbolic victories are important, as they can contribute to the enhancement of the real ones. In the case of the local election there are two positions. Either there is a candidate who has already asserted himself in a genuine way and therefore can count on the direct support of his voters or the candidate of the party that will most likely stay or accede to power is endorsed. So, apart from situations belonging to the first category, USL will benefit from a supplement of confidence this time, all the more so as it is an electoral opportunity to reprimand the Basescu epoch so far, coming to an end squeezed of all its political vitality. No matter how much the president has detached himself from his former party, the association is still alive, the disillusions about the ‘player-president’ are interwoven with those about the difficult Democrat Liberal administration dominated by austerity, mutually enhancing each other. USL therefore has the first chance, also given the fact that local voters are more sensitive to avoiding political cohabitations that could lead to discrimination in the redistribution of budget funds. To PDL, on the other hand, it will be a test for its recollection capacity. The results will tell it how badly it stands ahead of the parliamentary election and how much it will need to reform itself. A bigger failure than the expected one could even lead to a change of leaders, although it would most likely be a relative change. To UDMR it will be a new effort of not letting go of the reins of power in the Hungarian community. The People’s Party whose mentor is Laszlo Tokes could, however, steal more votes than others had before. But if it obtains a good result, it can hope to fulfil it in the parliamentary election, also with regard to the contemplated abolition of the electoral threshold. In this later eventuality, a revolution of the party system is not excluded in the near future. In the last decade we have seen a simplification of the political spectrum. Any mergers have happened and small parties have become even smaller if they didn’t disappear altogether. Without an electoral threshold in place, their chance ill grow and they will certainly take advantage of the new circumstances. It will be interesting to see the results of the People’s Party, typical of the vitality of Romanian populism. Anti-establishment, justice-maker, foreign to classic political landmarks, with a heterogeneous audience, if it imposes itself at least partially, this party could ring the bell for a redefinition of political message and rhetoric. It would be something like a ‘third populist way’, a tabloid version of local politics. This new wave of small parties could erode pretty fast a system of parties already undermined by its own inconsistency. The abandonment of clear political identities can only lead to a fluidisation of the system and, eventually, to its implosion. The left has allied with the right, the populists make an impenitent mix and, in general, associations of any kind are not only allowed, but actually encouraged. Even the names of parties and alliances – a strident mix of once irreconcilable concepts – indicate a trend. But, setting aside all this, we should never forget that there is a certain difference between the local and parliamentary election, which means that the outcome of the latter is only relatively predictable by the results of the former.

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