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August 17, 2022

Romania, whereto?

After several days of massive protests in the country, everyone, whether protesting or not, is wondering what is next.

The attitude of the Government and of the PSD President is that of visible rigidity and of an almost complete lack of positive reaction to these protests. Not to mention the contradictory discourses such as Liviu Dragnea confessing he is no longer able to rein in the PSD members and sympathisers who really want to defend, also in the street, the ballots they cast in December, but whom he will under no circumstances allow to express their disapproval, of course, out of concern for the country and respect for Romanians, or the last-minute statements the likes of ‘here’s the rescinding, here’s the abrogation, here’s nothing, I’m not the Government but I’m doing my best to put in a good word with the Premier’ coming from the same leader who played the same game before these two ordinances became a reality too.

This is the state that defines the present moment from the standpoint of the ruling political group.

Nevertheless, today, when I’m writing this editorial (Saturday, February 4), a PSD counter-protest was announced more or less officially and credibly. Against the backdrop in which the biggest social protest so far is being announced for today too.

What is in fact happening and especially what comes next? What is not seen beyond this deployment of forces?

Thus, against the backdrop of almost exclusively holding power in Romania, with a Parliament which has reached the ability to pass an elephant through the eye of a needle (what can’t be done when there is political will?!), the current Government, obviously guided dictatorially by PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, found it appropriate to do an absolutely suicidal and completely absurd gesture, knowing very well what the social reactions were going to be and, likewise, all the consequences deriving from them.

In almost 30 years of politics and governance, even the most untalented and uninspired politician reaches the ability to anticipate first of all the dangers and then the advantages resulting from such a gesture. That is why, I don’t think anyone can be so naïve or lacking a minimum of political common sense to imagine that this greenhorn’s mistake, susceptible of a complete lack of political intelligence, could be attributed to Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the left wing.

Because, let’s be serious, it’s more than obvious that the Grindeanu Government represents nothing but a front and chessboard which Liviu Dragnea is using in a discretionary, unhesitating manner while putting on the mask of innocence. The mask of someone who hasn’t built a Government for himself and who behaves neither arrogantly nor discretionarily.

Thus, the movement that has come to existence has the two government emergency ordinances as starting point. However, the substance of and the reasons for the discontent are becoming increasingly variable and wide-ranging to the extent in which people, Romanians, have realised that the source of the whole evil is in fact represented by Liviu Dragnea and that this evil is not limited to these two ordinances but forms a much longer sequence that fades somewhere in the twenty-eight years of Romanian politics.

In January-February 2017, Romanians are massively taking to the street. Starting with Bucharest and ending with the smallest cities in the country.

A neutral, attentive and professional observer of the phenomenon could say that since 1990 every day has seen reasons just as serious for Romanians to protest in a sustained and determined way.

Just like he/she would say that during this whole period Liviu Dragnea was not the only politician and leader who ended up holding almost total power and abusing his status, being considered dictatorial and being blamed including through massive protests.

Moreover, not long before this crossroads Romania is at, new political paradigms the likes of a union between the left wing and the right wing in an aberrant political hybrid, precursor of what we now see has reached a high degree of social intolerance, appeared because of the discretionary and dictatorial behaviour of some.

And all these political manoeuvres and tactics had as a goal, seemingly, the need to free the population from the hold of a leader that became the absolute antihero. An antihero who, in a span of just a few years, now becomes one of the voices that are not only positive but also mentorial.

This political hybrid later gave birth to a new and atypical Romanian president – Mr. Klaus Iohannis. The first president considered to have a “clean” right-wing background in Romania. A right-wing president without a real political right wing as support and as actual practical functional existence. A right wing that never won by itself any elections campaign and which now almost fell short of entering Parliament.

A right wing which now, during these moments of paroxysmal crisis that Romania is going through, has no other argument but that of a pale and formal censure motion and of a simulacrum of protests through Parliament’s halls.

In the meantime, the Left has ticked off all the possible electoral and political victories. Something that makes me wonder what prompted it to lose the presidential ones. And, looking at the massive social discontent with the Left right now, what prompted it to fully win local, legislative and consequently executive power.

February 2017. A critical point and a turning point in Romania’s history. From all points of view, Romania is facing a serious situation, covering all levels of the state, surpassing the level of the fight between palaces or institutions. A situation that, obviously, we should not treat singularly but should mandatorily integrate into the whole international climate.

Romania is tottering and the consequences on all planes could be extreme for a period of time longer than we could imagine.

From now on, what are Romania’s route options?

The first option would be for the protests to end and the current power to continue to unimpededly mind the work it has started. Another stage has passed, but not necessarily a crucial one, because nothing will fundamentally change.

The second option is the one in which Liviu Dragnea & Company accept a dialogue with the other areas of Romanian socio-political representativeness, namely President Iohannis, the Opposition, as numerous as it is, and, of course, last but not least, the protesters. All with beneficial result for everyone, in which case one could say Romania takes a great step forward through this social and political harmonisation.

A third option, not desirable at all, being listed with maximum reserve, would be the one that would basically see an internal fight between Liviu Dragnea’s forces and what is left of the political class opposed to him and the civil society. Which would mean not only throwing Romania into the bleakest and most dangerous destabilisation, but would also mean throwing it back into a bleak era and a historical place that will remind us all that our destiny is a cyclically unpropitious one.

I want to believe and I really believe Romanians will be capable and will this time know how to turn the odds in their favour and in the favour of a Romania that definitively came out from under this spectre of uncertainty and dissolution.


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