What had been already been a rather good week in Bucharest Life (of which the biggest and best event was the official launch of the new In Your Pocket website on Monday) got even better on Friday morning when Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was named as a suspect in a huge corruption case, in which he is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and no fewer than 17 counts of falsifying documents. Here is the Reuters report on the subject.
We doubt that the charges against Ponta come as a surprise to anyone, not least the prime minister himself. He knew his time was coming: the recent moves by his government to pass legislation restricting the powers of the DNA (the anti-corruption prosecutors) and removing a number of offences (such as conflict of interest) from the statute book entirely were evidence of that. The biggest giveaway however was his protection of a former government minister, Dan Sova. Ponta has been accused in the same case as Sova, and was desperate to prevent Sova’s arrest, in case he start blabbing to the DNA. (On Friday afternoon Sova was placed under police supervision and forbidden from contacting Ponta). Anyway, all of Ponta’s effforts appear to have been in vain: the DNA clearly have enough to bury him with. It is worth noting at this point that the DNA’s strike rate is over 90 per cent: they do not usually accuse people of anything until they have a watertight case and rarely lose. Ponta is, we would assume, buggered.
You would therefore think that he would do the decent thing and resign.
You would then remember the fact that he is a total shit who has lied many times, who copied large swathes of his doctoral thesis and who presides over the most corrupt government in Romanian history.
As such, despite President Klaus Iohannis quickly and unequivocally asking for Ponta’s resignation on Friday lunchtime, the man Romanians mockingly call Mickey Mouse has so far refused to do so. Instead, he stated that he would answer only to parliament: as many people were quick to point out, Nicolae Ceausescu said much the same thing when arrested in December 1989.
So what will happen? Well, we think he might last a few more days, but in all likeliness he will be gone before too long. No country in the world – not even Romania – can operate with its prime minister facing serious criminal charges. He is doomed. Iohannis can technically suspend him (as he can any member of the government facing criminal charges) but probably will not. A suspension would be just that: a suspension, and possibly only temporary. It would not trigger the fall of the government. A resignation and a general election is what Romania needs now. Almost the entire country can see that (Pontophiles and Russian apologists excluded).
Speaking of the lunatic brigade, they have already been banging on about this being a ‘coup’ and that Romania has become a police state, as if prosecutors prosecuting crooks was something that only happened in a police state. ‘The DNA has too much power’ they shout. We disagree: the DNA does not have enough power. Were it up to us we’d put the DNA in charge of everything: the schools, the hospitals, the trains, the roads…
Anyway, as a final word on this subject, we should point out that Romania might very soon have its first female prime minister: Alina Gorghiu, leader of the PNL. That would represent a huge step forward. Given the fact that the head of the DNA is also a woman (Laura Codruta Kovesi), the end of patriarchal, misogynistic Romania can’t be too far away. A far more active feminist movement would also not go amiss.
In other news, Mrs. Bucharest Life had a meeting with the traffic police on Tuesday regarding the crossing at Bulevardul Marasesti we wrote about last week. It went very well. They have agreed to support our application for the installation of a traffic light when the local council’s (it is Sector 4) traffic commission next meets (the traffic police have a member on the commission). We now wait. For anyone hoping to see lollipop ladies on the streets, do not hold your breath: their introduction would apparently require a change to the highway code; government legislation, basically. It would take too long. A traffic light is the best option in the short term.
For our eight-year-old the school year finished on Thursday: two weeks early. Why? Chicken pox. No, she doesn’t have it (she’s vaccinated against it, as she is just about everything) but half the class and the teacher do. It’s an epidemic: one which could easily be prevented if more parents were responsible enough to get their kids vaccinated. We are rather fascist on this subject: either get your kids every jab there is, or keep your kids away from other children. Here’s why.
Last weekend in Mamaia the Bucharest Life-mobile was clamped for ‘parking on green space.’ In fact, we had parked in front of a hotel, on the hotel’s land and had been told at reception it was fine to do so. We still had to pay 50 lei to get the clamp removed, but the police did not fine us, presumably because they realised the hotel was morally responsible for not telling us we couldn’t park where we did. It also helped that Bucharest Life himself ‘went for a walk’ before the police arrived, leaving Mrs. Bucharest Life and the eight-year-old to do a rather teary number on the coppers. It worked: try it next time you get clamped. The fine is from 400-1000 lei, and well worth avoiding.