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April 21, 2021

A confused voter

For those who voted 4 years ago, too, changes from the offer found in the ballot papers were at least confusing. Compared to the previous elections of 2012, UNPR, PP-DD, PC, FC, PNT-CD and PDL simply disappeared. Therefore, around 30% of the voters had to change their option at least for this reason. At the same time, repositioning situations are very sophisticated. PP-DD merged with UNPR, who then merged with PMP. The 3 parties were competing in 2012, and UNPR was PSD’s ally for a long time; PSD was the main opponent of President Traian Basescu, even trying to dismiss him. At that time, PSD was part of USL, together with PNL and other smaller formations. Meanwhile, PNL absorbed PDL, and now it was PSD’s main opponent. The current ALDE, led by a former PNL Prime-Minister, is the result of a merger with the Conservatives, former allies of PSD. PMP comes from a part of PDL, who in its turn included a part of the older PNL. Any voter without prejudices would obviously be stunned by these transformations. We could even apply the proverb ‘the wolf change its hair, but not its habit’ to these jumps from one side to another, without any regret for the commitments abandoned so easily. What was called ‘migration’ is an already collective phenomenon, not just an individual one. It’s one of the poisoned legacies of the Basescu era, he moving his party from the Socialists to the people’s party overnight.

It’s not surprising at all that PNL won only a fifth of the expressed votes. When they ran alone, Liberals reached at most around the same, which shows that their potential is limited. Coalitions in which they entered produced results hard to be interpreted from each party’s perspective. Mergers are not leading to mathematic results either, because the resulted formation does not cumulate the old percentage of each absorbed party. So Liberals are stationary. For a better result they should have had a charismatic leader – Dacian Ciolos remained a ‘technocrat’ also supported by USR, a left-sided party, which from some points of view is at the opposite side of PNL. Not to mention the serious erosion of the party’s credibility after Crin Antonescu’s adventure, since he joined Victor Ponta for a long time. Only the lack of the right-side options allowed Liberals not to fall more.

PMP or ALDE couldn’t convince more, too; they are the parties of some former leaders even more eroded, like Traian Basescu or Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, who were on top ten years ago. However, they can be happy to slightly overcome the electoral threshold, since their parties are artificially kept alive, through mergers against nature and without growing perspectives. These parties correspond to the agony of their leaders.

As for the great winner, we have to mention that PSD will govern only with a slight percentage over one sixth of the voters in its favor – the absenteeism is one of the rights provided by the current democracy. So it’s totally exaggerated to assert that we live in a strongly ‘Social-Democrat’ country. Besides, this sixth includes, as in the case of other elections, many elderly people, always worried that otherwise they’ll lose their pensions and benefits, such as free medical care. Old people, anguished by diseases and disabilities, don’t think at politics in a very rational way, so the news about the corruption in the system are not capable to make them seriously think about it. Therefore, they are the most loyal voters of the Social-Democrats. Statistics indicate that Romania is a country that is getting old, and soon one half of the population will be more than 50 years old. The consequences in electoral terms are obvious. In these circumstances, PSD doesn’t have to convince too many young people to govern in peace. Especially because many young people thicken the ranks of those absent, being indifferent to any political message.

USR had the most surprising result. But the hard part is just beginning, because it will have to show that it is a credible force in the opposition, in the perspective of the next elections. For the moment, its electoral basin is rather low, and it couldn’t convince too many young people. Its supporters are those who were sympathetic to the ‘civic’ revolts of the recent years – for instance, those against the exploitation in Rosia Montana. They are the ones who surprisingly made Klaus Iohannis to win. A part of them are attracted by the extreme left-side – we could even tell that the ‘communist’ vote was rather for them than for PSD. In general, their voters are 30 to 40 years old, being relatively well integrated in the society, attached to the West’s standards, more attracted by the left-side, but also having hedonist claims. The proposed candidates were rather heterogeneous, which probably raised the suspicion of some certain already confused voters. Being a party without a history, USR will be forced to state its identity. Because in our country, a party has a future only if it either maintains a state of things which is satisfactory for many people (even if in others’ detriment), or is capable to propose a seductive hope – most of the times, disappointments were high, like after the elections of 1996 or 2004.


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