President Klaus Iohannis is accused of trying to weaken the Parliament by speeches such as the one he had held inside this institution on Wednesday. Moreover, he is accused that he applies the same method as his predecessor, Traian Basescu, in order to achieve this purpose, and that he only manages to demonize the fundamental institution of any democracy.
The accusations were made by Senator of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) Gabriela Firea in a public statement made in the plenum of the Romanian Senate:
“Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, who had said that ‘Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, we may state that the Parliament, although it is far from being a perfect institution, has an essential role in the functioning of any democratic system.”
As a predominantly representative institution, the Parliament is, above all, a loyal mirror of society. Obviously, at each round of elections, we wish the best of the best to win, but it is nothing but a wish. The best of the best are either not running, or running on the lists of the wrong party, or, once they are elected, they prove that they are not so good after all.
The Parliament is, by its definition, a place for debate, a place for confrontation of ideas, arguments, persons. Unavoidably, passionately supporting an idea may bring you the affection of people sharing that idea as well as the disapproval of people who believe the opposite. The members of these groups are variable, depending on the topic presently debated. Therefore, this might be a potential explanation for the Parliament’s lack of popularity as an institution, but also for the lack of popularity of its members.
Another explanation for the negative image of the members of the Parliament comes from their actual quality as representatives of the nation. Because, if the nation exercises its power by its chosen ones, it is obvious that this people would be blamed, as a group, for all discontentment of the nation.
Everywhere in the world, Parliaments are confronted with this issue and it is natural. In our case, though, the critical attitude towards politicians in general and towards members of the Parliament in particular is turning, more and more frequently, into demonization. Unfortunately, this state of facts is fueled to a great extent by politicians themselves, either by improper conduct, or by generalization of punctual criticism.
It is difficult to ask for respect and trust for the political class from behalf of the audience and of the media if these characteristics are not found, first of all, among its members. Too often, disputes do not refer to ideas, but to individuals. And if we keep attacking, day by day, our adversaries as persons, and not for their ideas, sooner or later, the overall perception will be that they are all alike.
In an attempt to change this perception, PSD has initiated the organization of a work group intended to generate a plan of action for recreating the credibility of the Parliament. The initiative is supported by PNL as well.
In a speech held on Wednesday in front of the reunited Chambers, President Iohannis had declared that he wanted a strong Parliament. The same thing was announced on several occasions by his predecessor Traian Basescu as well, who nonetheless showed no hesitation in fiercely attacking the MPs of parties hostile to him, and went as far as making explicit threats against a Senator, member of a Committee of Inquiry that had to investigate something that had to do with Basescu’s family business. Such attacks not only affect one certain member of the Parliament, or a party, but the Parliament as an institution.
Many of those who do not let themselves be dragged into this game of demonizing members of the Parliament probably never asked themselves who has anything to win from having a weak Parliament that lacks credibility.
This way, with all its qualities and defects, the Parliament is the fundamental institution of the democratic system. Besides its functions of representation and issuing laws, the Parliament has one more fundamental function: the one of controlling the Executive and other institution that exercise power in the state one way or another.
A weak Parliament means an inefficient control over these institutions. Which, examined from any angle, cannot be a good thing. As Abraham Lincoln used to say several hundreds of years ago, you can fool everybody for some time, or you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool everybody all the time!”, the statement made by PSD Senator Gabriela Firea concludes.