Of all the crap articles ever written about Romania in the foreign press, the pro-PSD puff-piece which appears in The Independent today has to be one of the most utterly ridiculous.
Ostensibly a profile of Liviu Dragnea, the piece portrays the PSD leader as a beacon of hope for the European centre-left.
After elections in Bulgaria and Moldova of a pro-Putin president and prime minister there is relief in European capitals that Romania might buck the south-east Europe trend and install a pro-EU, pro-Nato prime minister after national elections on 11 December. At a time when the centre-left all over the EU is on the ropes the arrival of Liviu Dragnea will cheer up European social democracy when many of its politicians are floundering.
The article makes a number of mistakes, either knowingly or otherwise.
1. The PSD is not (and never has been) ‘centre-left’. It is a nationalist party that has far more in common with the extremist right than the progressive left.
2. Dragnea is a convicted criminal. He is currently serving a suspended prison sentence for attempting to fix an election. He is also being investigated by Romania’s anti-corruption unit, the DNA, for various other offences.
3. The author assumes that in the event of a PSD victory in Sunday’s parliamentary election, Dragnea will be nominated prime minister. He will not: Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has made it clear time and again over the past few months that he will not nominate a corrupt politician as the country’s prime minister.
Finally, a word about the article’s author, none other than Denis MacShane.
A former Labour MP and Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under Tony Blair, MacShane was jailed for six months in 2013 for falsifying parliamentary expenses.
One convicted criminal eulogising another. How lovely.
PS You really have to wonder what the thought process was at PSD headquarters.
‘We need a piece in the UK press praising Dragnea.’
‘Who shall we get to write it?’
‘A convicted fraudster?’
‘Yes, brilliant idea.’
PPS This, by Luiza Ilie at Reuters, is a far better look ahead to Sunday’s vote, although it still, as if by some kind of contractual obligation, refers to the PSD as ‘leftist’.