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March 31, 2023

First anti-impeachment rally in Cluj

Basescu again accuses Ponta and Antonescu of seeking to control the judiciary

A meeting of support for suspended President Traian Basescu took place on Saturday in Cluj. Approximately 5,000 people took part in it, most of them coming from various counties in Transylvania and Banat. Carrying banners reading “Romania wake up, EU has already reacted” or “Traian, save us,” a large banner denouncing, in German, the lack of democracy, as well as more sarcastic messages such as “Suspended citizen” or “Hard to impeach, part 2,” wearing white t-shirts and caps with the signs of the Centre-Right Civic Initiative, generously handed to those present in the square, white and tricolor flags, and a lot of white balloons, the rally started with the folk music of very popular local musicians. Cluj Mayor Emil Boc gave the start to the speeches, pathetically labeling July 29 as “the most important day after December 1989.” He painted an alarming picture of the near future, because of the ruling power Romanians being at risk of losing the privilege of traveling through the EU without a passport, European investments in public roads set to be frozen and the funds for farmers stopped. PDL President Vasile Blaga had a tougher tone, accusing the “socialist left-wing” of “being unable to govern other than by confiscating state institutions.” He was the first to launch an accusation that was then repeated by other speakers at the rally, denouncing the current ruling power of being the vassal of politician and businessman Dan Voiculescu. And he finished his speech in an insulting manner: “Down with Ponta; go home, thief!” The most hot-headed speaker was the young Mihai Neamtu, the leader of the ‘New Republic,’ who finished his speech with the fad of many right-wing intellectuals: “Down with communism!” PNT President Aurelian Pavelescu was present in Cluj too, characterizing the suspended president as “the last redoubt” left in the face of corruption, “the only man that doesn’t give in.” Traian Basescu, present in Cluj with his wife, gave a balanced speech. He admitted that it is difficult for him to have an approval rating of over 50 per cent after eight years in office, but reiterated that he does not want to win by default. He accused Victor Ponta (whom he banteringly addressed with the diminutive Victoras) and Crin Antonescu of secretly wanting to control the judiciary, calling them “puppets for defending those about to go to jail.” He also mentioned that the action to “behead the state” coincided with the surprising arrest of former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, and also the fact that 20 current MPs are under criminal prosecution. He partially admitted that he is not an irreproachable politician, but he is at any rate preferable to those who are “convictable.” “Don’t vote for me, vote for the best solution for Romania’s progress,” his final call was. The rally ended with the launch of a “democracy torch” that will be carried throughout the country, like an Olympic torch, and will be put out only if the referendum’s results are unfavorable for Traian Basescu.

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