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Bucharest
October 28, 2020
EDITORIAL

A crisis as big as a motion

The PSD vs. PSD no-confidence motion has passed.

Is there anyone left in this country who had, at least for a second, the vaguest doubt or vain hope in this sense? I hope not.

Sorin Grindeanu is not the type of politician capable of generating emotion in life-or-death issues, when he faces off with the one who imparts the very meaning of life to current Romanian politics – Liviu Dragnea.

As seen, in politics anything is possible and everything is permitted. And, especially within PSD, it is decided beforehand how possible and permitted something is.

And that’s because Liviu Dragnea (photo) has thoroughly learned a lesson which in politics is the fundamental rule of success and survival – nothing can or should be left to chance. Especially when everything that matters to you is at stake. As one would say in this case, keep your enemies close, but your friends even closer.

So close that, once a no-confidence motion was tabled against your own Government, during the vote on this fantastic and mindboggling motion you quickly position yourself on the steps in front of the ballot boxes and you personally watch each friend and enemy casting their ballots, looking at how irreproachable their attitude is at the key moment.

But, since everything comes and goes in this life and especially in politics, what is left once the motion passes – and I don’t believe it can be overlooked or placed under the heading of “circumstantial political game” – represents the truth that existed and continues to exist beyond this self-beheading performed with much ostentatious puffing.

And when I say that, well, I’m not saying it metaphorically or rhetorically, but factually, literally.

The whole parliamentary ballet show that could be watched live –  and even more so the stage management and the script that created the whole motion epic whose denouement was more than predictable, even though it was played and faked in sequences that bore names such as negotiations with UDMR, national betrayal, internal party Fronde and boycott on various levels of the ruling power or Opposition, trumpets and placards from the Opposition (the man with the alphorn from PNL), life-and-death struggle between the Premier who suddenly became unwanted and rebellious and the tyrannical anti-Grindeanu group standing in the benches, led by maximum leader Liviu Dragnea, and ballots cast on the credit of the ethnic minorities’ – other than the Hungarian one – conscience, a conscience that in the end resurrected the old proverb which says that “foolish fear doubles danger,” –  shows that Romania has scored another episode in the never-ending political series of recent decades.

There is talk about the weakening of PSD’s almighty majority and about the restoration of the balance algorithm within the Romanian legislature based on other criteria that would be, at least this time, by recoil, in favour of the anaemic and pale Opposition seen so far.

There are voices that cheer the immense success registered by the left wing’s leader. But there are also voices that claim that Liviu Dragnea’s success converges toward an evil that, sooner or later, will expose its fangs and claws, striking at the very foundation of the pedestal of the avatar of the day – the power long-pursued, built-up and consolidated within his own party.

Still, leaving aside this whole madness that has soap opera undertones or the undertones of a South American country with a love for coups, syrupy television dramas and samba, the essential question is only one:

Why this entire huge spectacle and this huge effort and expenditure of power resources on the part of the left wing’s leader, in order to remove his own creation from the puppet table?

Or, even simpler than that: who stood to gain and who stood to lose from this whole story?

Liviu Dragnea’s gesture seems completely disproportionate and out of order for someone who has all the arguments, levers and the whole capacity to control, without scripts and grotesquely hyperbolised stage management, some people and a situation that, I repeat, are nothing but a figment of his own mental game and his own will.

I was saying, as recently as last week, that the centrepiece of the whole political mechanism, regardless whether we are talking about the occult one or the eternal show of lights presented to the wide audience through the even wider mass-media interfaces, lies nowhere else but in Parliament.

Even though the current moment seems to point to the contrary. Seems to. Because the story about the Premier who becomes a pathogen for his own party or for the power structure built by Liviu Dragnea represents nothing but another underscoring, an even more obvious one, of the fact that, without the validation received from Parliament, a Government and a Prime Minister, no matter how liked and efficient or weak and inefficient they are for a party, remain but a rose on the lapel of a leader and of the ruling power, or another episode of political comedy or drama in a country’s history.

This was proven in time, with a vengeance, and not just in Romania but in any other democratic state of the world; no matter how large and impressive a political leader’s or a party’s power was at one point or another, without the support and nourishment of the parliamentary power core, it’s just an illusion that will unravel at the first large-scale tectonic shift in the legislature or at an inertial force that is directly proportional to the will and force of the ruling leader and party.

And now, coming full circle, we are once again in… Parliament!

With a weakened and volatilised Social Democratic majority and with an Opposition that has started to show visible signs of courage to claim to a possible negotiation for various seats in the future Government and even to taking over power in case – who knows, via another miracle that only the magic of politics can create – Liviu Dragnea’s power and self-confidence will be shattered and eventually obliterated, and the much-coveted sceptre will fly directly into the hands of those who have been less favoured by fate until now.

And Parliament is talked about when certain voices, more or less knowledgeable and relevant in political matters, talk about its possible dissolving and about snap elections. Something exceptional and not at all easy to manage in today’s Romania, from the standpoint of the mechanisms that lie at the basis of such a process.

A situation that will obviously remain at the level of speculation and salt added on top of an already extremely painful wound for the Romanian nation and state, because, at this moment, such an extreme solution would not only irredeemably deepen the crisis from which we are allegedly yet to emerge, but especially its effects, over an undefined period of time, for us all and especially for the already extremely fragilized democracy, economic stability and foreign partners’ confidence.

Moreover, let’s be real, the idea of dissolving Parliament and holding snap elections cannot really, practically, and re-eligibly suit any of the political factions currently in Parliament. Regardless whether we are talking about the ruling power or the Opposition.

Returning within the limits of the actual and immediate reality…

A new Government with a Prime Minister who is less adventurous, and with the same ministers or other ministers who tender and withdraw their resignations based on the rowing rhythm and direction imposed by the chief helmsman, will eventually have to take the same path. The path of Parliament.

Although now, with the tempest in the teacup lying on the left wing leader’s table gone, the centres of gravity have automatically shifted, and the maximum incidence and the entire weight of the sacrificial guns and the guns of the media – not necessarily civic – public opinion have been trained on the Head of State’s territories and on the veto he is about to issue (or not) on the new nominations for the Prime Minister’s office.

A Prime Minister who should be so-so, who should have more left wing in his composition and less of a tendency to disobedience or disloyalty and who, in the end, should deserve to govern for more than six months. In other words, a Prime Minister more on Liviu Dragnea’s liking and more easily to accept by Klaus Iohannis, if not immediately then at least on a second go.

However, I personally have not the slightest doubt that President Klaus Iohannis (excessively nicknamed “active President” lately, as a symbol of something that can and must be a trademark for a determined, powerful and unperturbable Head of State and, last but not least, one capable of coldly managing all domestic political situations brought to a red-hot state) already knows how the future Prime Minister should no longer be and what he should no longer do. So that the presidential decision would be unhesitatingly spot-on on the first go.

Hence, no matter how we look at and analyse the current situation, the mechanisms and actors who were and continue to be behind it, the thread of intricate twists and turns in the labyrinth of power leads to Parliament, every time.

And the logic that the left wing’s leader seems to have had when he directed and stage-managed this whole story tends to be based on the same drive and the same origin of the games of power, control and winning that only Parliament can offer as levers and undoubtable certainties to any political leader.

Consequently, the story continues within the same Parliament that, from now on, has to carry out several urgent tasks and missions that may turn out to be redeeming and extremely comfortable for Liviu Dragnea. At least on the short term and only from a strictly political perspective: the amending of the Constitution and bringing extremely important and imperious changes to the Criminal Code. A budget revision that will go forward with more force and dedication than before. And, last but not least, why not, as top priority, the rethinking and reorganising of the whole structure of the Romanian judiciary, with all of the institutions and people it includes.

Given that the judiciary and its Cerberuses seem to be the source of the great evil and the insurmountable obstacle in the path of the happiness and unbridled power that Liviu Dragnea longs for with so much force, determination and desperation, being capable of doing unimaginable things for it, the likes of setting alight his own party, Government and the whole country if need be.

All of these and many other things obviously being set to reign in the governance’s fundamental book. The famous governing platform that the man who has emerged from this “crisis” as the country’s almighty politician wants modified here and there, in its essential parts.

The conclusion is that the political battle for power, strict and obvious, is and will remain a battle whose subject and object have nothing to do with the real, serious and chronic problems facing our country. Both domestically and especially during these moments coming after the important and crucial visits that President Klaus Iohannis paid to the U.S., Germany and France, from the standpoint of Romania’s PR and targets abroad.

And the worst and the most incredible thing is the fact that this eternal political battle being waged at the expense of Romanians and of the state, completely aloof from their real problems and needs, has the same Romanians and the same state as collateral victims.

In other words, when two dogs strive for a bone, the third one always loses.

 

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