There will be local and parliamentary elections in 2016 with the stake of governing in the next four years. And a highly important battle will be the one for third place. It is the position reserved to the party that can decide the majority. Analysts think that new parties will be able to gain good results, but only by a negative and insistent campaign.
Analysts credit with the highest chances to gain this position former President Traian Basescu’s Popular Movement, but there are also Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Monica Macovei who might have a major impact in the configuration of the political scene following the elections.
“At local elections we may gain, based on political votes (…) ten to twelve percent, and fifteen to twenty percent at parliamentary elections”, the ex-President recently announced – on December 18, his electoral objective.
“This change cannot be accomplished by rattling handcuffs, not by exchange of political figures”, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, co-President of ALDE, declared on March 21, 2015.
“When you say politician, you say thief and a corrupt person. This is why I do not consider myself a politician”, Monica Macovei, leader of the M10 party declared.
“Let us not forget that the thing that matters the most in politics is the combination of leaders, the organization and the financing. And by this perspective, my bet is actually on the Popular Movement. Because they still have a highly powerful communicator, Traian Basescu”, political analyst Radu Magdin declared for Digi24. By his messages, the former President is trying to attract the electorate who supported in the past PPDD or PRM, according to the political analyst.
“We have a Prime Minister hiding in Istanbul. Yes, he is gimpy. But he reached the decision concerning the mosque while he was gimpy, which makes us think he underwent head surgery, not leg surgery”, Traian Basescu revealed his signature irony on July 5, hinting at ex-PM Victor Ponta.
“I assure you that, if I were Romania’s President, Naryshkin (Chairman of the Russian State Duma – editor’s note) would not have ended up having a speech at the stand of the Parliament, because Naryshkin is banned all over the territory of the European Union”, the ex-President also declared.
The same top might include Victor Ponta as well. Before Christmas, the ex-Prime Minister met the former members of his cabinet. It was the moment when he admitted he wanted to withdraw.
“He might have chances to create a new party, but the question is whether it is worth it, regardless of the various forecasts concerning the split of PSD. Throughout the time, in the last 26 years, this thing did not happen”, Radu Magdin pointed out.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu also has grand hopes, despite of being the leaders with the toughest attacks concerning the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). He could have got an agreement with grand political players, yet the plan of removing him from the lead of the Senate was unsuccessful.
“My ambition, as well as that of my colleagues, is to consolidate ALDE after the future local elections as the third political force”, Calin Popescu Tariceanu also established.
The M10 party declared that the year 2016 will change the political class.
“We want to change the political class, so implicitly the chart. People have got enough of this political chart in Romania’s Parliament”, Monica Macovei declared.
36 new political parties founded in 2015
Three parties per month was the frequency of registering new political groups in the year 2015 after May brought the entering into effect of the law allowing the foundation of a party with no more than three members, instead of 25,000, as imposed by the previous normative act. Therefore, small groups started to appear throughout the country. Some of them have great ambitions, such as joining the Parliament by the end of 2016. Others are regional and only hope to influence local communities.
Therefore, 36 new political parties were founded in 2015. 26 of them have at least three founding members, as permitted by the law promulgated in May. Comparatively, based on the old law, it was only one political group that appeared in 2014, based on the old law. There are 25 more requests of founding new political groups awaiting approval on the tables of Bucharest Court judges.
“The scale is so wide that you cannot say any longer you have no one to vote for. And if you indeed have no one to vote for, there is no problem. You find two more friends, create a party and vote for yourself”, says Adrian Moraru, Deputy Manager of the Public Policies Institute.
In Targu Mures, Catalin Herghes founded a party that wants to be the citizens’ guardian in their relation to the Mayoralty.
Catalin Herghes, founding member of the Free People’s Party: “It is our only way of getting our projects in the local council and submit them for democratic debate, in order to see which of them deserves to be promoted and which not.”
It is not the only local party created this year due to the new law.
In the last eight months, the approval of the Bucharest Court was granted to eight parties created locally, in Botosani, Iasi, Galati and Vrancea. In Arges County, by example, a new group that surfaced is the Party for Arges and Muscel.
Citizens outside the country also took action. Just a few days ago, judges approved the foundation of the Christian – Democrat Diaspora Party. Other Romanians living abroad are awaiting for a Court decision concerning the foundation of the Party of Romanians Everywhere.
Seven more groups inside the country are looking forward to receive favourable decisions from judges for their parties founded in Maramures, Arad or Alba-Iulia. On the waiting list there is also the Party for Direct Democracy Sarmisegetuza while peasants in a Timis commune want their own party, the Rebirth of Sacalaz.
Adrian Moraru, Deputy Manager of the Public Policies Institute, says: “If we only have one candidate from such local party who would be able to win in front of the grand parliamentary parties, it means that the law is efficient in the end”.
Where majorities are at the limit, which means a few votes, sometimes these people might make a certain difference and play a key role”.
Nonetheless, analysts and politician status acquiring new activits warn that there are still issues challenging these small groups.
Alexandru Radu, politologist: “The Social Democrat Party and the National Liberal Party are obviously granted advantage by a system they built themselves. 5 per cent is the electoral scale. You cannot go behind it. It means approximately 500 votes for an attendance of 10 million. It is an impressive figure, nonetheless. Small parties, founded on the basis of changes in the law, cannot face such electoral bar and, therefore, their role will be strictly decorative.
“Parties not running in 75 localities at local elections or at the level of an entire county at Parliament elections will be dissolved. This means that, actually, the law does not allow a local party”, says Nicusor Dan, President of the Save Bucharest Union.
It is precisely why the Presidents of the new parties are already considering alternatives in order to get in the Parliament.
“Our hope is that there will be local parties appearing in many places in Romania, due to gain substantial scores at local elections. And all of these groups will be reunited in a party that would have the chance to pass the threshold of 5 per cent of the parliamentary elections”, Dan added.
Some of the new parties were founded by experienced politicians discontent with the group they have belonged to up to some point.
Among them, there was former Social-Democrat Mircea Geoana or Deputy Daniel Fenechiu, helped by PPDD to gain a position inside the Parliament.
Daniel Fenechiu, President of the National Democrat Party: “We are truly not ignored by opinion polls and they do not give us as much as 001, at the time you have 1,100 local organizations everywhere and over 60,000 members, you cannot stop having the required confidence to attend an electoral competition on your own”.
Mircea Geoana, Senator: “We will have a new majority in the next few weeks with the initial group of MPs and we will soon have a new Government.
Former PDL member MEP Monica Macovei took advantage of the popularity she gained while running for President and founded M10. “We are the only party following a straight path. We do not offer positions. We do not pay bribes. We do not give contracts”, Macovei declared.
From prison, former Senator Dan Voiculescu advised his supporters to create a new political party. Some of the dissidents of the former Conservative Party took his advice.
Maria Grapini, MEP, member of the Humanist Power Party: “We have ten more counties where we are supposed to make local branches. We cannot say we are a regional party. No. We are a national party.”
Not all parties passed the filter of the Bucharest Court: eleven requests of registration were rejected. Among them, there was the request of the Romanian Communist Party.
Constantin Rotaru, ex-candidate for President: “That regime was a hundred thousand times better than what happened after 1989. Justice in Romania did nothing during these 25 years than block the possibility of preventing the creation of the Romanian Communist Party.
Also, the Movement for Medgidia, the Pensioners’ Force Party and the Neo-Socialist Party failed to persuade judges that they may activate on the Romanian political stage.
Three-member parties founded in 2015: 26.
Total number of parties founded in 2015: 36.