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January 18, 2022

Platform – Programme – Party?

Dacian Ciolos, Romania’s incumbent Prime Minister, who declares himself apolitical, has launched a platform the other days.

The platform is called “#Romania100 – Romania at 100 years,” which includes 10 so-called points of a potential, possible governance.

The moment Dacian Ciolos announced the launch of this platform, everybody waited with baited breath to see not only what the man, whose name is so much rumoured these days as being the most desirable to hold the office of Premier after the upcoming parliamentary elections, has to say but especially what he wants to do and how.

Not only did the launch of Dacian Ciolos’s platform not bring anything new or sensational in the vision on governing the Romanian state, but it also generated a strong wave of irony. And, considering the statute and expectations that Romanians ascribe to and have from Dacian Ciolos, a huge disappointment.

From my perspective, as political consultant, but also as citizen to whom this programme might be addressed, there is nothing worthy of analysis or note from the standpoint of concreteness in what concerns what Dacian Ciolos presented as his platform.

For almost 30 years, any political party or person in Romania has always identified and presented, in a more or less similar form, with more or less pretentious and extremely important titles, the same “strategy” and governance thinking points. In fact, just like in this case, the one concerning Dacian Ciolos’s platform, each time it was nothing but a populist, demagogical and obviously politicking listing of the main domains that make up the state’s functioning in general and of its eternal problems.

Anyone knows that a platform, regardless of its initiator or promoter, has a social origin. And can become concrete only through strictly political instruments.

However, important to analyse and say about this platform, launched absolutely by chance (?!) in a moment of campaign and of challenge to the political identity of its creator, is what it really signifies and hides.

I repeat, not the core debate which was found, is found and will probably be found again in any political platform in Romania.

But the identification of the goal and of the manner of carrying it out. Because, after all, what else but scrap paper and empty words would a programme represent, no matter how good, if it isn’t implemented?

And the implementation of a platform/governance programme is closely connected to or, better put, conditioned by the political factor.

Because while Mr. Dacian Ciolos can declare himself apolitical at this moment, his platform cannot be and is definitely not apolitical.

And herein lies the problem and the dilemma.

Observing Mr. Dacian Ciolos’s path and evolution, we can realise that we are dealing with a character that has always acted in Romanian politics as a specialist, a declared independent politician. That being the case when he was Agriculture Minister during the second Tariceanu Government too. But also, when Traian Basescu nominated him European Commissioner for Agriculture.

However, while in domestic politics Dacian Ciolos has always been the independent politician or, more recently, the apolitical Premier assiduously courted by political parties with right-wing pretentions, in European politics which, understandably, includes Romanian politics too, Dacian Ciolos was member of the European People’s Party. Willy-nilly, but certainly with political affiliation. And not a right-wing one! Now, I don’t know whether what Traian Basescu stated about Dacian Ciolos’s willingness to be politically conscripted anywhere, even within the EPP, only to obtain the European Commissioner mandate at that time fully reflects the profile of the current Premier, but it certainly says a lot about how he sees obtaining or maintaining a certain political statute.

Hence, does Dacian Ciolos’s platform represent a first act – as clear and assumed one as possible – of political expression or not?

I say it certainly does. With the mention that this act does not concern in any way the line foreshadowed these days. Namely the adoption of this platform as a future government platform by PNL, USR or both. But a future political line of its own, with Dacian Ciolos as its representative (but not leader!).

Because his platform does not represent anything but a PR prologue, a teaser if you like, the sketched platform of a future political party. A political party other than what is now present on the Romanian political market which is getting ready for elections. And it is as natural as it can be for it to be launched at such a moment. Just as natural as it is for Dacian Ciolos not to take on any political identity before the results of the parliamentary elections and the forming of the new Government. No matter how badly this country’s citizens want to vote for Dacian Ciolos. Or, could it be precisely because of this?

At a political moment in which the identity of political parties is so diluted, in which an experiment has been done with the formula of an apolitical Government in a state in which absolutely everything is politicised and in which the political and apolitical formulas have to create – and will create – a new paradigm not only of Romanian politics but also of the state itself, it is as interesting as it can be to look at what will become of an “innocent” and naïve platform, not even called a programme, presented as the corollary of the modest desires and conclusions of a Premier who, after one year of apolitical governance, presents us with his vision in a manner that is far below his capabilities.

Finally, I would ask Mr. Dacian Ciolos: Why did he give up so easily on the governance points (the likes of: amending election laws, reforming public administration, unfreezing European grants, large infrastructure projects) he presented at the start of his mandate and which were so well-received by the Romanian public? Points that are indeed consistent and important and which could still have represented the point of starting and continuing a future governance programme that would really matter and would really transform itself into a credible outlook for any political party.

Soon, we will find out the mysteries of the CiolosRomania100 platform.

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