Romania takes huge dump on own doorstep

It wasn’t just pig farmers in Teleorman who woke up to the smell of shit this morning: the entire country was last night overtaken by an all-pervasive stench so putrid that Romania could spend the next four years in the shower and still not wash it off.

As you will probably by now know, the PSD won yesterday’s parliamentary election by a huge margin, taking more than 46 per cent of the vote. The PNL was the second largest party, a long, long way behind on 20.5 per cent. The USR ended up with nine per cent of the vote. The UDMR, ALDE and PMP also made it into parliament.

Turnout was the lowest it has ever been, below 40 per cent. Think about that for a minute: six out of every ten Romanians do not care how much of the money they pay in tax is stolen or wasted.

The margin of victory will allow the PSD to do just about anything it wants. We need to wait until later today (when the parliamentary seats are distributed) to see if it can govern on its own, but even it needs to co-opt ALDE, a loyal lapdog, its grip on the country will be absolute. In his victory speech (given immediately after the polls had closed) the PSD’s leader Liviu Dragnea (a convicted criminal, remember) made it clear that he expected ‘all state institutions’ to respect ‘the will of the people’. This was a clear message to Romania’s anti-corruption unit, the DNA: ‘The people have spoken and they don’t mind corruption, so stop arresting good, honest criminals like me’. Or words to that effect. The DNA and its leader Laura Codruta Kovesi are in for a difficult few months. With such a comfortable pro-corruption majority about to be installed in parliament the DNA’s survival can no longer be guaranteed.

What should we expect from an all-powerful PSD?

  • An all-out attack on the justice system. Expect the DNA to have its wings clipped, and the appointment of hundreds of magistrates friendly to the PSD. The ICCJ (which usually hears the appeals of convicted dignitaries and politicians) will be packed with PSD stooges. Both Dragnea and former prime minister Victor Ponta (and a number of other PSD MPs) have possible trials approaching. The watering-down of the justice system will be the new government’s number one priority.
  • An end to the reforms of the past 12 months, particularly in health where the exposure in recent weeks of the shocking amount of corruption in Romania’s hospitals has demonstrated just how precarious the state of the health service actually is.  There will be a quick return to the opacity of the past, whistle blowers will be silenced and Romanians will continue to die unnecessarily.
  • Changes to the constitution; Dragnea was already drooling over the prospect last night.  The roles of parliament and of the prime minister will be boosted, while that of the president severely diminished. Specifically, the appointments currently made by the president (the heads of the DNA and the SRI, as well as foreign ambassadors) will be reassigned to the prime minister. There may even be an attempt to make the nomination of prime minister a strictly parliamentary matter.
  • Zero toleration of dissent. ANAF (the tax authority) and other government agencies will once again become political weapons for the PSD to use against opponents. Newspapers and websites which do not sing to the party’s tune should expect knocks on the door.
  • Visible nationalism. Expect to see Romanian flags everywhere, all the time, and far fewer EU flags. Expect sustained campaigns directed against foreign imports, foreign influence, foreign NGOs and foreigners in general.
  • Economic meltdown. If the PSD keeps even half of its election promises Romania will be bankrupt in 18 months.

As sociologist Barbu Mateescu quite brilliantly put it: ‘Romania is going to look a lot like Belarus, just with more Coca-Cola.’

More than ever Romania now needs a strong and determined opposition committed to the rule of law and the fight against corruption. But who will that opposition be? The PNL has never been an effective counterweight to the PSD, siding with its opponents far too often in the name of ‘stability’ or ‘national unity’ (read: the ciolan is big enough for all of us). The USR, while it did well (although not as well as we hoped) will have no more than 40 seats in parliament and will not be able to block legislation on its own. The UDMR will look after itself, as always, and while (a visibly drunk) Traian Basescu tried to claim last night that his PMP would be a ‘fierce’ opponent of the PSD his (and his party’s) own problems with the law mean that he will not be leading the fight against corruption.

Which leaves the president, Klaus Iohannis.

His first test may come as soon as this afternoon if, as seems likely given the PSD’s share of the vote, Dragnea nominates himself as prime minister. Iohannis has repeatedly said that he will not appoint a convicted criminal as PM (indeed, the law forbids it). Should he give in, then the rule of law in Romania would have come to an abrupt end.

Should he refuse to appoint Dragnea however (which could see him suspended: bring it on!) then the resistance can begin to take shape: Iohannis, the DNA, the USR, decent bits of the PNL (they do exist), Dacian Ciolos (possibly), civil society and those few parts of the press which remain objective.

It’s not much to work with, but any guerrilla movement has to start somewhere.

PS Neither of the lunatic-extremist parties (the racist PRU nor the neo-legionary ANR) made it into parliament. Neither came close. In fact, the ANR appears to have got just 61,000 votes. Where then, did the 200,000 signatures it needed to get on the ballot paper come from? We are sure that the relevant authorities will be launching an enquiry…

Photo credit: Hotnews

30 thoughts on “Romania takes huge dump on own doorstep

  1. In the light of how the politics and public affairs are conducted in the state of Romania, a member of the EU, then Brexit makes a lot of sense.

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  2. The center-right, nationalist platform of the Social Democratic Party won a landslide victory in Romania last evening, as millions of Romanian people impoverished by the so-called ‘fight against corruption’, together with their families, took to the polls and voted for prosperity, lower taxes and – last but not least – voted to put an end to a horrible period in the country’s history, which was marked by foreign-controlled institutions that infiltrated the Romanian state and the Romanian society, especially the DNA.

    For the second time in a row, the Social Democratic Party has been handed with a clear mandate to reform, restructure, repeal and condemn everything related to what Western-controlled pundits from inside the country and from abroad call ‘the fight against corruption in Romania’. Not least foreign-financed NGOs.

    It remains to be seen whether the current president of the PSD will have the courage to deliver the reforms which the Romanian society demanded from him.

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    1. ‘Romanian society demanded.’

      The new government will not represent Romanian society. The PSD took 45 per cent of 39 per cent. That’s less than a fifth of the electorate. They have no legitimacy, no real mandate. Not that that will stop them.

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      1. I’m sure it represents Romanian society more than Kovesi, foreign ambassadors, Merkel or Junker do.

        It’s a very simple equation: Romanians vs. Foreigners.

        Romanians = traditions, beliefs, natural resources, local capital, way of life etc…

        Foreigners = globalization, anti-corruption, NGOs, homosexuality etc…

        We win this fight or we die and disappear as a nation, there’s no other way. But you know what encourages me? It’s for the first time that we’re actually fighting. Until now we let them do whatever they wanted with this country. And now for the first time in 27 years we’re actually saying ‘NO MORE!’. Same thing as in the Western world, only on slightly different coordinates.

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  3. “As sociologist Barbu Mateescu quite brilliantly put it: β€˜Romania is going to look a lot like Belarus, just with more Coca-Cola.’”………….Isn’t Coca-Cola a foreign product? Wouldn’t be a bad thing to see it go.

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  4. I’m no PSD fan but you are just as much of a scaremongerer as they are…we’re going to look like Belarus? Have you no eyes, no cognitive ability to distinguish between deeply different eastern European states?

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      1. No, have you? Have any of the people drawing these comparisons? It’s a vastly different state to Romania, with a completely different history. First and foremost, none of the countries inside the actual Soviet Union should ever be compared with eastern bloc states – their trajectory and fate has been, and is very different. Facile comparisons only serve as clickbait.

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      2. Yes. I wrote a city guide to Minsk.

        When the rule of law in Romania is once again inexistent, and politicians of a certain party are above the law, when the press is silenced and when a leu is worth about as much as a Sudanese luncheon voucher, comparisons with Belarus will be valid.

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      3. Why would PSD turn Romania into a Belarusian-style dictatorship this time? Weren’t they already in power several times since the 1990s? Aren’t they kind of the norm?

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      4. Is this a good or a bad thing when it comes to foreign investment? Supposedly, and it seems like a lot of bullshit for the average Romanian, the economy was growing fast.

        As a side note Craig, really wish you would consider advising candidates. Your insites are legend.

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      5. The Romanian economy did grow, but only 11% of the capital is actually Romanian. The rest is foreign capital.

        So we couldn’t feel the growth. It was corporations who took it, and to some extent – the country budget.

        Which in turn helped the PSD to come up with a centre-right heavy tax reduction platform. This is the only thing we’re getting out of 4 years of economic growth.

        P.S.

        You should see MY insights… I was the only person that I know who predicted a presence below 40% and PSD scoring above 43% πŸ˜€

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  5. What did the liberals have to offer young people, the people who purportedly are their target audience? Young professionals, freelancers, young entrepreneurs and so on? Jack shit. And for all those saying the bulk of the vote consisted of lazy drunkards whose sole aim in life is to be ‘socially assisted’, wake the fuck up because Romania’s social assistance rates are the lowest in Europe. You can’t freelance your way out of abject poverty, and for many of Romania’s rural households, that’s exactly the kind of situation they find themselves in. If liberals and so-called progressives (USR) have absolutely no plan for including them (they make up roughly half the country!), then tough shit, they’ll be speaking to no one but people identical to them, of which there aren’t many. Please remember that this country’s uncritical anti-communism has gone to such extremes, that suggesting that education should be free is now seen as some kind of communistoid utopian dream.

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      1. Why does it matter? I could have cancelled my vote for all you know. I’m not, I repeat, a PSD fan. But i think many are assessing the situation wrongly and uncritically. i’ve even seen hot takes that claim PSD was financed by Trump/ the ‘Communist Russians’ – I mean, are you kidding me?

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      2. Did you even vote?

        There was no huge swell of support for the PSD. The PSD took as many votes as it always does: between 3.5 and 4 million. And if you look at the demographics then you will see who those voters were: 45+, non-urban, poorly educated. Many do not pay any income tax. Many do nothing but take from the Romanian state, they do not contribute. Those are not suppositions: they are facts.

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      3. This is turning very ideological. Is it not then, the failure of the liberals for not managing to entice their target audience and draw them to the polls? Bit like the Clinton situation, no? Ideology aside, is that not a reasonable conclusion to draw?
        I did vote – I voted at the consulate in London. A pleasant surprise – absolutely no queue. Sadly part of the reason for that is that Romanians don’t understand the role of the prime minister and think it is much lesser than that of the president.

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      4. 1. What exactly jobs would you expect an unemployed person to take at 45+ ? At 45+ you’re jobless by definition, unless you’re a highly skilled worker (and how many of those would there be in the world…?). You know what they call that? They call it GLOBALIZATION.

        2. What do you mean by ‘poorly educated’? Is a university degree that guarantees unemployment or underemployment enough to make you highly educated and vote for progressives? Is high quality education free so that most people could be employed for big wages? Is every memeber of a society suited for high quality education? If everybody was highly educated, would there be equality of income between CEOs of corporations and the vendors at Mega Image?

        High quality education costs money, doesn’t guarantee anything, is not available and will never be suited for the masses. The masses are uneducated by definition. And don’t expect the masses to have the same interests as the elites.

        You can lie to the masses to have them follow you for a while, but in the end your lies will be uncovered and they will start acting like masses.

        Education is not an option anymore in today’s world. Education is a huge effort that guarantees nothing in the end. It’s a giant pyramid scheme. A hoax and a lie.

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  6. “Expect sustained campaigns directed against foreign imports, foreign influence, foreign NGOs and foreigners in general” – not just foreigners of course. All non-Romanians even if they are not foreigners. For the first time since I moved here I worry about what will happen to the part of the country where I make my home.

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    1. You have a wonderful country. Go back and fight for it.

      What happened if we all left our countries as pray to savage muslims and negroes?!

      Our ancestors died by the millions, fighting to protect these lands.

      It’s time for us to do our duty and honor their memory through our behavior.

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  7. Plenty of jobs around for those over 45. No, they might not be the jobs of your dreams, and in some areas jobs are harder to come by than others. And there are some, granted, where they do not exist. But there are plenty of jobs about.

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    1. Oh and you believe the average 45+ man or woman working a job of misery for a salary of misery should vote for progressives… to see how that damned job disappears too and they end up starving.

      This is why progressive policies don’t work and they almost destroyed our societies.

      JOBS! WHERE ARE THE JOBS?? DECENT JOBS!! PROGRESSIVE POLICIES DESTROYED OUR JOBS!

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    1. There’s a multitude of factors for which Romanians vote in large numbers in some elections and tend to ignore others:

      1. Being largely ignorant of politics, Romanians value presidential elections more than other elections; even in presidential elections – they come out in large numbers only in the second round, when the game is played between the first 2 people that resulted from the first round.

      2. The countryside and small towns tend to mobilize better in local elections, where it’s all about mayors and local councilors – people that small communities are well aware of.

      3. Parliamentary elections belong to nobody. In parliamentary elections people are asked to vote parties, lists and programs, all of them related to ‘something that’s gonna happen in Bucharest’ which makes them impersonal and unattractive. Turnout in parliamentary elections tends to be the lowest of all elections.

      4. The dynamics, though, has changed a lot between this round of elections and the previous rounds:

      – Up until now (2012 included), there was a lot of dirty money involved. When elections came, politicians used to hand out gifts and even money to people so as to make them vote. This was especially valid in the countryside, where the presence was more significant than in urban areas, because of these gifts.

      – Now, in 2016, all dirty money was taken out of the equation, no more gifts were allowed. The result was that rural presence collapsed.

      – But the overall presence remained whithin the usual limits, a bit higher even than in 2008 and 2012. How was that possible? It was possible for 2 reasons:

      a) The rise of the USR which managed to summon some part (but not much) of the electorate that was usually absent

      b) The migration of the PSD from a centre-left socialist to a centre-right platform with significant populist accents. This wonderful move by the PSD managed to mobilize a large part of the 15% of Romanians who are known to support a populist agenda, but also some of the impoverished urban middle class; this urban middle class formed queues during the last voting hours, and if you followed the live exit polls (only available on the internet, with partial results updated every 2 hours) you could see the PSD growing during the last 4 hours of voting time.

      The mobilization of the populist segment was done at the expense of the PRU, PRM and ANR which together only managed to raise around 5% of the vote.

      Had the PSD not occupied the populist beach, we would have seen the PRU in parliament for certain.

      I’m a PRU supporter myself, but yesterday I voted for ALDE because I knew that much of the populist vote would be going to the PSD and I was almost certain they would get 43% so the only concern which I had was not to leave the PSD alone.

      It tends to be very difficult when you’re a mammoth party and everybody else is against you. Your image gets eroded at a faster pace.

      The PRU will keep growing and attracting more and more Romanians. It’s a very serious project, financed by one of the richest men in Romania and having the most important Romanian news tv station (RTV) backing them. The PRU is the future. But right now I had to do the right thing.

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      1. Very interesting. Thank you. What sort of “populist” rhetoric and measures resonate in Romania? (Particularly which the PSD used.)

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      2. Romania has a problem with low income and a lack of decent jobs (when I say “decent”, I mean living-wage jobs… not median-income jobs of the type that would be desired in the West).

        So what we can call “populist” by Romanian standards (which is what the PSD promised) is lowering the sales tax, diminishing the fiscal burden on self employed and very small enterprises, raising pensions and raising the minimum wage.

        On the other side of the fence stood Nicusor Dan’s left-wing progessive-marxist Soros-financed USR who made it clear they won’t be cutting any taxes if they make it to government.

        Then there was the identitary-nationalist side of the discourse, out of which we can retain a few ideas:

        1. Multinational corporations are stealing from us (with examples: Kronospann and Holzindustrie Schweighoffer that have been cutting our forests, Veolia that sells overpriced water to the population of Bucharest, and a few other examples).

        2. Foreign ambassadors have intervened by Romanian authorities so as to obtain favors for foreign corporations (with examples: the ambassador of the Netherlands intervening by the head of ANAF, the ambassador of Italy intervening to obtain contracts for Astaldi, the Microsoft contract, the border security contract, the contract for battle frigates and a few other examples).

        3. State instutitions (specifically the DNA and the ANAF) are destroying Romanian politicians, Romanian businessmen and Romanian companies so as to favor competition from foreign corporations.

        And to a lesser extent:

        4. Merkel and the European Union are set to colonize us with African and Asian muslim animals.

        5. We don’t have control over our internal policies because of the European Union and foreign ambassadors (a secret letter from the German ambassador to Klaus Johannis was publised, in which he had asked the Romanian president to do everything that was needed so that taxes for the population wouldn’t be lowered by the Ponta government back in 2015, the destruction of Complexul Energetic Oltenia and Hidroelectrica at the demand of the European Union so that Romania would be buying energy from CEZ instead of producing it locally).

        6. If the United States still want to have a strategic partnership with Romania, they should start to make payments (investments etc…).

        7. The involvement of Soros (read: progressive NGOs backed by foreign funds) in the Romanian justice system (it was revealed how prosecutors and judges and even Laura Codruta Kovesi were given prizes and diplomas and sometimes financial advantagtes by these NGOs, so as to arrest or convict various Romanian politicians that wouldn’t agree with progressive policies; even a former Romanian minister of Agriculture who was convicted to 4 years in prison for taking a “bribe” consisting of 16 kg of sausages told how he was pressed and threatened on various political channels by these progressive NGOs until they managed to frame him up and have him arrested and convicted).

        This is just a part of what I can recall right now, because the problems that were discussed run much deeper. For example more than 40 articles of the penal legislation were rendered unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Romania and nobody had the courage to modify them in parliament because they were threatened with prison time by the DNA and by president Johannis.

        Who obviously use these articles so as to promote the politics of fear among politicians who don’t accept progressive policies.

        I’m telling you: even if people die, even if blood is shed once more in the middle of Bucharest, these things MUST BE CHANGED ONCE AND FOR ALL. THE HELL WITH PROGRESSISM!

        Like

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