After last year’s elections, no political party could form in Parliament a majority directly through citizens’ votes. As usual, creating alliances was needed in order for this majority to be attained. In this case, PSD and ALDE, plus UDMR and the ethnic minorities’ representatives, are forming the parliamentary and ruling power.
But where is the Opposition? Was it, is it and will it be able to create the necessary, urgent majority?
Up to the last minute, it was thought that the other political parties present in Parliament – PNL, USR and PMP – could in their turn create an alliance that, even though it would not have formed an effective ruling majority, could have represented – firstly through the advantage of a unitary and well-targeted strategy – an obvious and really operational counterbalancing. It was not so. In fact, it was not and it is not in any way.
But still, what does the Opposition (still) mean in the moment we are in?
A political segment whose importance, I believe, no longer needs explained or argued in a democracy and which no longer, I believe, needs a thorough analysis from the standpoint of its usefulness in any state. And that is because here, in Romania, it was proved that the Opposition had and has a strictly formal existence.
It’s sufficient to say that the Opposition’s role has been completely erroneously understood and applied. That is why now, at this moment, we have ended up in a situation in which we are lacking a real Opposition in Parliament. And if this were the case only in Parliament then maybe things could still be fixed, however, unfortunately, this is the case on all branches of government in the country.
And not because of the high percentage of Social Democrats in today’s Parliament (there was always such a parliamentary majority, regardless of its name or party stripes). One can be in the Opposition even when one represents just 1 percent of parliamentary seats. Even more so when, were one to make a bit of politically mature and intelligent and most of all desired effort, one could have even become the majority. If… Or if the Opposition and ruling power were not to consider this time around too, just like usual in the cycles of governing seen before, that the most advantageous thing would be for them to uniformalise themselves through mutually advantageous tacit agreements. Why so much “war” when there can be peace, with a phoney war for show that would distract the attention?
Considering the facts of today’s situation, let us see who makes up or should at least theoretically make up the parliamentary and political Opposition in Romania.
The last historical party left to remind Romanians of times considered better. After the other historical party – PNTCD – drew its last political breath, only remains presented as holy relics in various political combinations being left of it.
What is happening now with PNL?
If about PSD one can say it is a man-eater from the standpoint of the internal principles that govern it, in what concerns PNL one can say it is autoimmune, operating on an absolutely masochistic matrix in which the Liberals’ biggest enemies are the Liberals themselves. In itself, a political party which, apart from the references to Ionel I.C. Bratianu and its pedigree, has done nothing notable, invariably having to form alliances to ensure its meaning, functionality and political and other types of profits. Thus reaching the apex 5 years ago when it formed a coalition with its natural political enemy. Given the Liberals’ pretences and self-declared status, it was as if the highest of boyars (although the Liberals are not the one to represent this class) had married the village’s simplest peasant. Willingly but mostly out of necessity.
Now, like on other occasions, this party’s infighting has resulted in a vulgar washing of one’s dirty linen in public, something so contrary to Liberal distinction and finesse and with a role – where else? – nowhere else but in the Opposition. A place where, apart from some inept statements insulting to national intelligence, we have not seen and we will probably not see anything else. However, what we are seeing is a complete obedience to the ruling power, translated into inaction and comfortable positions for the Liberals.
In less than a month’s time, the Liberal panache (extremely false, unnatural and anaemic as it is) died out.
The Premier nominated during the campaign, who was carried as an amulet throughout the campaign, suddenly disappeared immediately afterward, along with his wonderful platform, and, moreover, became the scapegoat for the Liberals’ failure. The only thing left behind being solely their accusations against the one who represented, just until recently, the totem of respect and promises of eternal confidence and love. It’s known. The Liberals’ love is extremely brief and opportunistic.
On the other hand, in what concerns the Liberal phenomena, we can say a record is being registered. Being the only party that managed to be both in power and in the Opposition! But never on its own and never for real in the sense of political consistency. In the Opposition, it is clear who and why. In power, through the person of the most chameleon-like Liberal of all times – Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The “honest Liberal”! A re-enactment of the honest Liberals of the 1800s, who built the Conservative Liberal Party. In our days, this mindboggling political mixture is called ALDE. And, for the time being, has left-wing leanings. But, as you can see, for the Liberals everything remains on a historical trend.
The last political hope of those for whom hope refuses to die. The political prodigy. The fast and suspiciously easy packaging of the politically-preferred civic society into something pretending to be a political party. And not any kind of political party.
After an elections pre-campaign and elections campaign in which, just like PNL, it did everything in its power to be its main opponent and contender, USR entered Parliament, bringing that “breath of fresh air” which many of the optimistic voters had hoped for. A breath of fresh air which, at first, meant the lack of knowledge of parliamentary circuits and traditions, silence and captains’ logs. Natural, I would say, for an earthling who has just landed on a foreign planet, but unacceptable and unforgivable in this case.
The USR members’ combative spirit has disappeared in its turn too, along with their comfortable induction into the organisational chart of favours and offices in Parliament. It registered vague outbursts in the form of infighting, for it in the end to be sound as a hollow echo which was intended to be the expression of opinions. Surely, the USR members’ behaviour in key moments such as the forming of the Government fully satisfied their voters’ hope and their promises to strongly rattle the ruling power in the future too.
PMP, meaning Traian Basescu.
The one who, on the evening of December 11, stated choked by the emotion of reaching the threshold needed to enter Parliament: “What I can guarantee PSD is that it will face the strongest Opposition it has ever faced. I will oppose PSD, probably ALDE too.”
What has so far come of the strongest Opposition that PSD has ever faced?
The nomination of a Premier who obviously was not Basescu, unlike what the latter kept saying during the campaign. Advices and corrections concerning the protocol and political leaders. Deep silence. And when he did not remain silent or did not give advice, Traian Basescu was and remains, alongside Sebastian Ghita, the protagonist of a Z movie whose theme is none other than the national obsession with intelligence services combined with the judiciary, spies and other occult elements embodied in the monster dubbed Establishment. A veritable blockbuster. A kind of “The Young and the Restless” soap opera with over 10,000 episodes.
This is roughly the picture of the Opposition in Romania at this moment.
And the legitimate question that stems from this entire outlook is: What is in store during the next four years from the standpoint of the Opposition?
Considering that more than half of the Romanian state’s positions of power are under PSD’s wand and that up next comes a period in which, as I said before, an isolated President serves only to deepen even further a social conflict with strong reverberations in the economic area and for Romania’s image abroad. And, after this period of a little over two years left with this President theoretically and practically isolated from certain standpoints, without a really consolidated Opposition, the left wing has only one step left to definitively seize power in Romania, namely the future presidential term which it is certainly aiming for.
In a future in which disintegration awaits it, we are only left hoping – once more – that the Opposition would nevertheless mobilise and create what the Opposition truly must be in any democratic state of the world.