It’s 2014 all over again

Senate leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu last night called on Romania’s MPs and senators to ‘ignore all requests from the DNA’ until after December’s general election. Forget about parliament voting to lift an MPs immunity (which it seldom does): if Tariceanu has his way there will not even be any debates on the issue.

(The DNA, as you will know, is Romania’s anti-corruption unit).

‘My position is clear,’ Tariceanu said in his statement, published – of all places – on the Senate’s own website. ‘The DNA has for some time now failed to serve the cause of justice, becoming – behind the facade of fighting corruption – an instrument which is used to annihilate the political opponents of the occult forces which control it.’

Occult forces!

Tariceanu also parroted the ‘everyone’s at it, so it’s OK’ excuse that former foreign minister (and convicted crook) Adrian Severin came up with a couple of weeks ago.

‘Some of these alleged acts of corruption happened years ago. What’s the hurry? They can wait a few more months.’

Tariceanu’s little party, ALDE, will – if it makes the five per cent threshold required to enter parliament – be the most likely partner in government for a victorious PSD come December. Attempts to strip the DNA of its power would begin almost immediately, just as Victor Ponta would have done had he beaten Klaus Iohannis two years ago. It’s 2014 all over again. This time though, instead of ‘anyone but Ponta’ the cry is ‘anyone but the ‘PSD/ALDE.’

As such, however flawed the PNL is (and it is hugely flawed), can we state right here and now that an independent government supported by the PNL and (hopefully) the USR would be immeasurably preferable to a PSD/ALDE government made up of the likes of Tariceanu, Ponta and the PSD’s leader Liviu Dragnea (who, do not forget, is serving a suspended prison sentence for attempted electoral fraud).

These are the people who fed and nurtured Romania’s culture of corruption and made a tragedy like Colectiv , in which 64 people died, inevitable. As we approach the anniversary of that awful night, is returning the same people to office the best way to remember the dead?*

Answers on the usual postcard please.

*On the anniversary of the fire, October 30th (Sunday week), there will be a silent march from Piata Universitatii to Colectiv, starting at 1pm. Its organisers have said that it should not be a protest, but a silent celebration of the dead. In the current climate however, it is difficult to see it becoming anything other than a huge demonstration against corruption in Romania’s parliament, and a call to action ahead of the election.

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