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Bucharest
January 17, 2022
EDITORIAL

The inexistent common denominator of the crisis

In crisis management, the first mandatory step in resolving the situation with minimum damage and consequences is to correctly identify the factors that generated the crisis.

After identifying them, the next step is finding a common denominator which always means dialogue.

And to obtain this common denominator, namely dialogue, against the backdrop in which all parties involved in the crisis are not only unwilling to give in but also to accept objectively seeing the common viewpoint, there is the need for someone, be it a person or an entity, to mediate this dialogue. A mediator that is accepted and respected by the parties involved, credible and capable of managing the situation.

Romania is not in a serious crisis for the first time. But I believe that, for the first time, Romania finds itself in a generalised crisis. In which both the notion of dialogue and the identity of the mediator need rebranding.

There is a crisis of political parties. There is a crisis of the politician himself, lacking the very content of its defining form in a political culture in which the politician’s meaning is dictated exclusively by a political party. No matter how weak or representative.

There is a crisis of political leaders. Not leader! Because, as long as there is only a single political leader, any idea of political pluralism is lost. Hence the necessity of having at least two authentic political leaders. In contemporary political and social Romania, the political leader has always been caught in a vicious circle and deleterious interdependence with the political party he leads. A party which identified and continues to identify with its leader all the way to perdition. At the same time, the idea of leader is unable to take shape, as long as the very idea of political party was completely erroneously created and applied. And the existence of the political man was, in its turn, conditioned by party affiliation.

There is a crisis of the presidential institution. Regardless of the name of the person holding this office at a certain moment. This crisis appeared through a cyclicity in which the overvaluing and overbidding of the president’s role in the state alternated with the undervaluing and basically the annulment of his role. Everything against the backdrop of defining as loosely and as interpretably as possible the statute and means with which the president can take part in the state’s life with measurable, concrete effects.

The same problem of exaggerating or – on the contrary – downplaying with which all institutions that make up the state powers are faced.

Hence, the real impossibility of using the presidential institution and its prerogatives as mediator in a crisis.

Romania’s whole civil society is in a crisis too. Whether organised under various forms or expressed from one citizen to the next. And I consider that the reason of this crisis no longer needs argued, being an effect of the crisis at the other levels of the state I have already mentioned.

So, who or what can mediate this crisis in which the political class, the presidential institution and the citizens – taken as parts of the social plane – are involved?

A crisis with camps that are in theory well delineated (hence, apparently easier to manage and solve), but which in fact alternate positions, volatilise their identity and state of aggregation, reaching dynamics that apparently create points of unity only for an even bigger dissolution to result in substance.

Who or what can lead to that common point of dialogue, given that each side is open to dialogue. And actually invokes it! However, this dialogue is permanently conditioned by non-negotiable terms for each of the sides involved.

An immediate and natural response for a country in which the principle of the separation of powers and the clear delimitation of the statutes of the political and the social planes actually work would undoubtedly be the Judiciary.

It would be naturally and necessarily joined by civil society – represented by various associative forms (NGOs) -, trade unions and other institutions overseeing the state’s functioning. Such as the National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD).

Similarly, this answer also includes the observers and monitoring institutions external to the Romanian state. Obviously, in line with partnerships and related treaties and terms.

Which of these factors can really be useful and usable in the current situation?

The judiciary. Is it or is it not a party to the crisis?

In the current situation, the Judiciary seems to be one of the crisis’s triggering factors.

Is civil society a party to the crisis or not?

Categorically yes. And it is the most important party to the crisis. The one that fully absorbs its impact and effects. And that part of civil society which has so far remained neutral, as neutral as possible given the current conditions, is either lacking power or a direct participative interest, or is completely discredited following numerous involvement attempts which resulted in political affiliations.

Are trade unions involved in the current crisis or not?

Trade unions are not aloof from political contacts either, that most of them represent but another form of expression for political will becoming a fact in Romania. A kind of small parties or party satellites.

Being notorious that persons who became real political characters came out from among the ranks of both civil society and trade unions.

In what concerns those institutions… I’m wondering which of them can position itself as neutral mediator, given that every institution, from the Church all the way to the Romanian Academy, has issued a point of view. And not necessarily a neutral one. And the political factor always plays an obvious key role in the taking and holding of any public office.

Consequently, the question raised in this case concerns not necessarily the involvement of these institutions in the current crisis, but how profoundly they are politicised.

In conclusion, given this emerging picture, the only possibility of managing this crisis we are going through for some time now remains that of dialogue from positions of equidistance whose mediator would become, in turn, each of the parties involved, absent the option of an externalised mediator.

Because, as long as within the Romanian state the political or apolitical stances of its various parts have not been very well defined, one cannot talk of distinct, neutral and well-intentioned participation of some side currently considered potentially outside the conflict.

 

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