Joy unbounded in Bucharest this week at the news that Bogdan Diaconu (pictured above), formerly of the PSD and currently leader of a newly-founded political movement called the United Romania Party (PRU), would be standing for election as mayor of the Romanian capital.
Furthermore, in a move reminiscent of the less-than-glorious 1930s, Diaconu also announced that he – along with some prize-fighter we’ve never heard of called Daniel Ghita – was putting together a uniformed vigilante group to be known as (don’t laugh): The Vlad Tepes Patrol (Patrula lui Vlad Tepes).
Now, leaving aside the fact that The Vlad Tepes Patrol sounds a lot like the name of an early naughties post-Britpop band which put out a half-decent first album but then faded quickly away, we have to say that if we were to make a list of things Romania really needs right now, a group of paramilitary thugs running around would not feature in the top ten. Thousand.
Now, we could be wrong, but we are fairly certain that we can see the future for this enlightened organisation. It will – sooner rather than later, perhaps – be involved in a violent fracas with somebody it doesn’t like (just about everyone who doesn’t share its chauvinistic, extremist, misogynistic and homophobic view of the world), and will find itself quickly outlawed. In fact, we would hope that it will be outlawed long before it gets to that stage.
PS: The comments underneath this less than glowing article about the patrol tell you all you need to know about the kind of people it appeals to.
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea this week threatened to boycott Romania’s local elections if the government bows to public opinion and returns to a two-round voting system for the election of mayors. Dragnea’s statement came after Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis also joined the growing number of people calling for two-round elections. It is perhaps ironic that the only people who would be in any way inconvenienced by a PSD boycott are its mayors and local councilors. The rest of the country would be perfectly happy to see the PSD watch this (and every other) election from the sidelines.
Meantime, Romania’s Electoral Commission this week set the date for the local elections: June 5th.
As expected, Romania’s constitutional court (CCR) dismissed out of hand on Wednesday the ludicrous objections of the tobacco lobby and declared the clean-air bill passed by parliament in December as constitutional. The court’s presiding judge, Augustin Zegrean said that the law was a perfectly good one and that he, a smoker, now had ’45 days to give up.’ President Klaus Iohannis then promulgated the law on Friday. It will come into force on Monday, March 14th, although most venues are expected to ban smoking some time before. Some have already done so.
Romania has promised to send emergency aid to Moldova and work to bring its neighbour closer to the EU as long as it makes greater efforts to reform its system and end corruption. Full story here. In other news, a Bucharest court on Monday sentenced a Moldovan gangster to 12 and a half years in prison for attempted murder.
Bucharest’s interim mayor, Razvan Sava, admitted this week that there was still no viable solution to the issues currently keeping Romania’s largest and most modern stadium, the National Arena, closed. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the stadium has been closed since October, as it has no fire safety certification.
A Sky News report this week exposed the shocking conditions in which some people in Cluj are risking their health by scavenging in squalid conditions on an ‘ex-Soviet’ toxic waste dump in order to make a living.