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September 29, 2022

The shadows behind the mayor

Most of the Romanian people know that, on the day when the electoral campaign finishes (a phenomenon which became endless in Romania!… unfortunately), all citizens having the right to vote go to the polls to express their electoral option for a candidate or the other.

And I say that because (doesn’t matter how contradictory or implausible it may look in theory) I’ve noticed in practice, along the years and the campaigns I’ve taken part, regardless we talk about electing the President, the parliament or the mayors and the county and local councils, that people realize in a too small extent or they don’t realize at all that the man they cheer or boo, they admire and follow on Facebook or they rebuke and criticize in the virtual space together with others, is actually nothing else than the product of a political group, which may bear or not the name of “party”, and in which actually consists the real stake of the whole electoral campaign and of what it establishes in the end – the election of a political representative of a political group.

The lack of an aware political exercise makes people to almost totally dissociate the person from the political realm where he is coming from.

And the fact that, for years, Romanian political parties have actually proved not to be different from each other, since their only goal is to reach the power by any means and in any way (be it even against the normal nature of what a political doctrine means and has to mean, which would imply the right and fair distinction of the parties in the political frame), has created in time an even bigger confusion and disorder in the mind of the people who finally give their political endorsement by voting during elections.

The Romanian political range of colors is so complex and so impossible to be selected or distinguished that, if you ask any Romanian person who is more or less connected to what happens in politics and who has the desire (even a small one!!) to vote on the day in question, so if you ask him/her from which party comes the candidate X or Y and why he/she opts to vote one or the other, you can amazingly see that most of the answer will refer to the person, and not to the party which gives that person.

In the case of the local-administrative elections, almost all of Romanian people appreciate that the mayor represents the supreme authority within the administrative governance formula in the circumscription in which he was elected.

And the fact that this mayor is a political product resulted by a mix of alliances and political agreements behind him, which are more or less observable in a logo appearing as solitary or insignificantly as possible on a banner or on any other electoral material, becomes a subsidiary matter for the voting person, alt5hough this is the most important thing we should follow and understand when we decide to elect or not that person.

Therefore, the mayor is not a person who landed from nowhere in order to candidate.

There is a mix of parties behind him and (most important!), there is a whole group of people backing him and coming bundled with the candidate’s name and image: THE LOCAL COUNCILORS.

I had the opportunity to talk to many people during the electoral campaigns and, speaking of different things, I asked them idly if they know who the candidates for the local or county council are.

The answer was stupor, panic and state of mental block. Almost nobody knew who are those people who, along with the effigy of the mayor they’ve just embraced or rejected when he knocked on their door, actually form the most important political-administrative body of what they call and apparently is a mayor.

The faces of the aldermen of the councils at the level of the county, city, town and village are absolutely unknown and insignificant matters for most of the Romanians.

These guys, real party soldiers, sent in a targeted and channeled manner to represent and to totally uphold the interests of that party along four years, namely along the lifespan of the mandate of each of them, these guys are the ones whose “for” or “against” vote decides in the very concrete way, what is going to happen with all the projects and decisions which will be taken in that city hall during all this time.

These people (and not the mayor!) are the ones who will decide in the end how that county, city, town, sector or village should look like, or what for the budget of the town hall will be spent or not , or what interests will be followed by the political mix represented by each of them and, finally, what good or bad things will happen to each citizen in the governed territory (because we are talking about a government) subsequently to the voting moment and to their involvement in the local council’s or town hall’s business.

These people, totally eclipsed both in the campaign and during their mandate, by the image of the mayor, to whom the citizen doesn’t give any importance either in elections or over four years, namely the councilors, are actually that silent, unseen and unknown Omerta that holds the entire power of the political veto for any administrative action, with all of its derivations at all levels.

These political shadows are also the ones who (officially again) have one of the most important and powerful attributes of the territorial-administrative governance from the political point of view: the election of the president of the County Council.

These heads of County Councils have proven, for too many years, to be one of the most important levers in high-stakes political game on long term.

All of us heard about the local barons. Well, these barons are elected by the will and with the support of the councilors’ body. This is an attribution which was reconfirmed and reentered by the last amendment of the Electoral Law. 

And, in order to give you a more fair and accurate image, I will tell you that this body of the county or local councilors represents for the corresponding administrative entity what Parliament represents to the country.

The only difference between what happens within the political groups in the Parliament and the ones in the county or local council, is that the political migration of the parliamentarians, widely exercised and being as much as possible at sight and legal, is also officially consecrated for the local and county councilors.

I guess the famous ordinance called “The Dragnea Ordinance” (GEO No.55/2014), which allowed a real exodus for the local representatives, namely mayors and (pay attention!!) hundreds, thousands of councilors having the role of political army, fully underlines what a county or local councilor really means and what is his real designation in the entire political formula of a party.

Nobody directly speaks about how these councilors are nominated and included on the lists, or which is their real meaning in what is going to happen right after the elections and the final vote.

No one from those who should explain to the people why and what for, and especially together with whom they decide to go further for the next four years, doesn’t bother in any way to tell us how these guys are included on the electoral lists.

Few people know that, when a party has to please its clients and to satisfy the most loyal and deserving persons among those acting in the name and within that party, the first places are assigned and populated by them, who couldn’t or failed to remark for the mayor competition, but who are included on the lists of councilors in the top positions, the eligible ones.

Also, few people know that, most of the times, the first step to the mayor’s seat, but most often to the congressman’s seat, is the one overcoming the area of local or county councilors.

Thus, if we look carefully, for instance, in the CVs of the current candidates to a part of the mayor seats of the town halls of the districts in Bucharest, we will see that they were councilors in the corresponding town hall in the recent past or even until now.

And, because these days, while being in Suceava, Liviu Dragnea was talking about the resumption of the project for the territorial-administrative reorganization of the country, expressing his belief that PSD will be the one which will continue this very important project for the country, I think that, before any resumption of the territorial and administrative reorganization of the country, Mr. Dragnea should consider a total rethinking and review of the Electoral Law.

Because this time we need this law to be as clear, democratic and fully issued exclusively in the service of the citizen’s and country’s interest.

And, if possible, we would like to have a law whose provisions should not be questionable and criticized by its creators themselves, as in the case of the election of the president of the County Council performed by the county councilors, not by the voting citizens in each county (am I right, Mr. Dragnea?).

We’d like to have an Electoral Law which will finally establish essential issues that have become chronic problems, such as political transparency at all levels, political migration on electoral grounds, organizing ballots depending on the political interests and calculations of the moment, pre-electoral and post-electoral alliances, the transparency of the list of the candidates for the seats of local and county councilors together with the nomination of the candidate for the mayor position, and so on, and so on…

Because, until 2017, in the next two weeks, most of the Romanian people will vote in a total lack of knowledge, for that political and administrative-territorial algorithm which makes Mr. Dragnea so confident and convinced that he will rule Romania together with PSD also in the next 4 years (four more years whose effects will be felt in at least four others).



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