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Bucharest
September 30, 2020
EDITORIAL

Onward, young Romanian politicians?

The other days, USR leader Nicusor Dan (photo) resigned from the helm of the Union/party.

A gesture and an event that, at least in my view, has flown at low level over the heads of the press and public opinion, far below the weight of the impact such a moment should have had for a civil society which, no longer than a year ago, was perceiving the young mathematician and the newly-born social-civic movement as a blooming and fresh democratic idea – that illusory light at the end of the infinite tunnel of Romanian politics.

And that’s because Nicusor Dan and the USR wanted to be that breath of fresh air. That “USS Hope” which, unfortunately, has become, almost overnight – just like it took shape in the world of politics –, a tiny paper boat in a leeway drift on the tumultuous waters of the political ocean. A leeway drift that appeared in a strange manner, from the very bosom of the new Union, through infighting between its official leader and the other aspirers to power and primacy.

The USR leader’s gesture to resign from the helm of the political party he was identified with up to complete confusion – and not necessarily beneficially or positively in the sense of the place and the role he has or had in the conscience of public opinion – was motivated, at least in substance, by an issue of democratic morality and objectivity toward one of the most important and delicate aspects debated in recent months in the social arena from the standpoint of politics – the constitutional redefining of the concept of family.

In brief, Mr Nicusor Dan considered it appropriate to take a “neutral” stance – by resigning from the helm of the party (sic!) – on the issue of defining the traditional family, explaining that personally he does not find opportune or correct the idea of rallying around such an overture that completely contravenes his own vision and especially the ideals and motivation that stood at the basis of USR’s de facto emergence.

In other words, Mr Dan, as party leader and Romanian parliamentarian, cannot position himself on either side of the political veto in this delicate issue. And, consequently, prefers to take a step back, leaving on the Romanians the burden of the decision and on the other politicians the stigma of public scorn in case things turn out badly, extremely badly, this time around too.

I would dare say that the young political leader’s gesture and attitude are not only strange but especially extremely volatile and bereft of any trace of political maturity, given the fact that Romanians, those who a year ago chose to vote for USR in particular and especially for Nicusor Dan, hoped that USR’s entry in Parliament would create a minimum of counter-weight and balance or objectivity in the Opposition’s area, one that would lower some of the handicap and increasingly worrisome imbalance in which our political power has found itself for years.

However, it seems young Romanian political leaders have neither the capacity, nor the will, nor even the intent to really change the paradigm of national politics. Not to mention rallying to the new European political streaming! As is the case of the newer and younger political leaders of Europe and the world, such as Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau or, why not, the controversial and atypical Alexis Tsipras.

For years, there has been ongoing talk that the political line and vision is growing dangerously old and ossified in European states, this being fully and extremely strongly felt particularly among Eastern European states such as Romania.

In recent years, in Romania, we have all witnessed the rise and almost overnight disappearance of all kinds of parties, alliances and unions. Such as the USR, USL or PRU, which tried through political gimmicks to create the illusion of a political reform whose engine and avatar would be the faces of young political leaders such as Nicusor Dan, Victor Ponta, Bogdan Diaconu and, more recently, as a last and desperate attempt, Daniel Constantin. Entirely relocated with pseudo-conservatory and quasi-Liberal remnants under a new political gimmick that appeared just a few days ago – “Pro Romania.”

However, as numerous and varied as these increasingly pathetic, transparent and completely null and avoid attempts were and are on the part of politicians, attempts to beautify, to stick new pictures, logos and slogans on the archaic and outdated political party clunkers, just as large and directly proportional seem to become the Romanians’ disgust and indifference toward any form of manifestation of “the new, the different and the young” in local politics.

Romanians are increasingly less willing to lend their ears, to close their eyes and to buy the unrefusable offers in terms of new variants of a “different” simulation of democracy. Albeit made with and by people whose biological age can fortify and suggest the new and the innovative.

And how could it be differently when, looking over the shoulder of the Balkans, we see how Europe is changing its mentality and political direction on the go, through people the likes of Emmanuel Macron, who became in just a year’s time not only a veritable national political star but especially a young and astonishing revelation and hope at the level of international politics? A new leader for a new world. A world made up of more than just a lot of talk, good political PR and an infinite and imperious need on the part of the seniors of world politics to receive ‘in bolus’ a huge infusion of a different democratic vision and thought, but especially a world that is visibly changing its orientation and the path taken so far in the way the precepts of democracy can and must be rethought and reimplemented in the world.

But, in Romania, as I said, time, people and actions seem to be from an entirely different universe. One that has absolutely no connection with the future. One that seems to no longer have even the vaguest link with the present of the rest of the world.

And as an example of a “different” that can be noticed freely and with a clear mind in what concerns the way things pretty much happen here, I’ll return to Daniel Constantin.

A young politician. However, only biologically. Because, at the level of mentality trend and of the actions he has shown in the years that have passed since he made his debut on the Romanian political scene, Daniel Constantin reflects an old man with a routine in a model that has a strong chameleonic undercurrent, conjunctural and annexable to any kind of politics or consecrated political leader, deeply and strongly embedded in the unmovable success registered in the last twenty-something years of high-level political business in Romania.

In other words: with anyone, anyhow and anytime provided it’s at the ball!

Daniel Constantin’s political career is already known by anyone who consumes politics in Romania. With a somewhat obscure debut in the conservative area of the political spectrum, later running aground because of the leader’s and implicitly the party’s bankruptcy of a criminal nature, the young and ambitious politician Daniel Constantin rapidly surpassed any ideological or doctrinaire obstacle or impediment of a conservative type and jumped in USL’s boat. Namely to the left of centre. Becoming Agriculture Minister during the Ponta Government, Deputy Premier and one of the people close to the former leader of the left wing. Then, after fate turned out to be unlucky for the USL, Mr Constantin took another extremely well-studied and well-coordinated jump and landed firmly and uprightly in the comfortable and profitable courtyard of another political party that proved to be sufficiently well-trained in the eternal political guerrilla warfare as to survive over two decades of unpredictable twists and turns and to end up, once again, alive and unscathed at the table of the current ruling power – PNL via Calin Popescu Tariceanu via ALDE.

Still, it seems destiny was not fully on the side of the young leader who held another ministerial office within the current left-wing Grindeanu Cabinet this time around either. And, once again, Daniel Constantin had to leave the ruling power’s table. This time however, eliminated by the patter familia, another one of his protectors and mentors – ALDE leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The reasons that led to this break-up and brutal humiliation inflicted on the young politician are somewhat occult, although extremely easy to deduce. The struggle for power and sharp elbows are not on the liking of the old Romanian political leaders.

Nevertheless, once again, Daniel Constantin proves to be a small yet inexhaustible source of political acumen and stratagems. Consequently, just a few days ago, a brand-new party has emerged in the ad-hoc nursery of our political parties. It bears the name of “Pro Romania” and its leader is none other than the eternal Daniel Constantin. The new small party was launched under the collocation #differently.

Why #differently? Well, firstly, because this is fashionable. And, secondly, a #differently placed next to a new party can fundamentally change the Romanian political situation. In Mr Daniel Constantin’s view.

As I understood from his brief and convoluted statement, this #differently also refers to a “something” from the same eternal traditional Romanian political broth, with the note that the line and vision this new party stakes on is that of patriotism in an extremely original and personalised form.

Because, according to Mr Constantin’s statements, “before being ‘pro-NATO’ and ‘pro-European,’ politicians must be pro-Romania.”

A statement and a conclusion as astonishing as they are strange, I would dare say.

Just as astonishing as the other part of the statement made by Mr Daniel Constantin, who wanted to point out that: “The press has speculated. You saw, I didn’t invite politicians because I want us to do things differently.” Differently how and with whom? Because among the guests present at the event, there were characters and personalities eminently political, the likes of Laurentiu Rebega, nationalist MEP, or Mihail Sturzu, PRU member.

Hence, in the view of a young political leader like Mr Daniel Constantin, Romanian politicians should return to more pro-Romanian and pro-nationalist feelings and attitudes – because one can hardly talk of patriotism, especially when this word is uttered by a political globetrotter like Mr Constantin. Not more pro-European and pro-democracy! As seems to be happening now and how it appears it will undoubtedly happen in most European countries and in the case of the political line their leaders are unflinchingly staying on.

Unfortunately, this is not the sole and final situation in which Romanian politicians not only fail to maintain a balance between statements and actions on the domestic political plane. But, the fact that they choose to go back, downstream of history, while Europe and the world are going upstream, toward the future, remains a worrisome fact.

 

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