This article was published on December 7, 2020 on the Polish website Strajk.eu. On December 8, 2020, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban resigned, and the government was taken over by the minister of defense, general Nicolae Ciuca. Until now, Ciuca was an extremely influential minister on whom many decisions depended. If he continues to be the prime minister of the future government, it will probably be a sign that Bucharest is preparing for Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House, when Romania and Bulgaria are expected to be at the forefront of US efforts to contain Russia and perhaps Turkey.
The activity of Romanian social democrats resembles Law and Justice Party in many respects: it is a party politically representing smaller urban centers or rural areas rather than metropolises and people who have lost as a result of transition, rather than the middle class. It is usual for PSD to take a rather conservative position. During its last rule in 2016-2019, the PSD introduced, inter alia, an increase in pensions. However, the party was weakened by corruption scandals; at the end of 2019, it had to hand over power to the pro-European National Liberal Party (PNL), while PSD’s leader, Liviu Dragnea, was sentenced in the spring of 2019 to prison for abuses (he had committed them several years earlier as a prefect in the Teleorman region).
This interview was broadcast live on Bulgarian National Radio, in the Horizon program on December 7, 2020.
Georgi Markov: Elections took place in Romania during the pandemic as well. The country’s citizens were called to vote yesterday for their representatives in the lower chamber of parliament and senate. The low turnout marked these elections, which according to the latest data were won by the Social Democrats. The second place was occupied by the ruling National Liberal Party. One of the surprises in these elections is the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR). The party finished fourth according to the preliminary results.
These results reveal a fragmented political image that necessitates a governing coalition. What could it look like and what changes are happening in Romania’s political life? We will now look for the answers with our colleague Vladimir Mitev, the founder of the news site about Romania and Bulgaria “The Bridge of Friendship” and the editor of the Romanian section of the site “Barricade”.
The screen writers of the TV series “Game of Thrones” have things to learn from Romanian politicians
This article was published on 10th February on the site of the Bulgarian daily newspaper ”Word”.
Romanian politics has always excelled in its vitality. There is always something going on there – unions, divisions, agreements, cohabitations between political leaders and parties. That is why the fall of Ludovic Orban’s government, followed by the nomination of the same man by the president Klaus Iohannis for future prime minister, should not surprise anyone. There is even a political joke circling around Facebook. The people from the National Liberal Party (PNL) say: “We propose Orban for prime minister”. Somebody asks them why. “In order not to vote for him”, says the answer.
Why the social democrats and the National Liberal Party are happy with the fall of Ludovic Orban’s government?
This article was published on 6 February 2020 on the Polish site “Strajk”.
Just three months after being sworn in, the right-wing Romanian government led by Ludovic Orban lost the vote of no confidence in parliament. However, it remains a favorite in the inevitable early elections.
The fall of Ludovic Orban’s cabinet takes place in conditions, which are beneficial to Ciolacu and to the leader of the National Liberal Party as well
This article was published on 7 February 2020 at the site of the newspaper “Word”.
The Romanian Social Democaratic Party will have a congress this month. It is expected that Marcel Ciolacu – the temporary leader after the era of Liviu Dragnea, will fight for a lasting take over of the party. This is the context, in which the social democrats’ activities on 5th February 2020, which led to the fall of the liberal government of Ludovic Orban, should be analysed.
The governments of the Social Democratic Party have left more money in the pockets of the poor, have given greater power to the middle class and have tried to attract more budget income to the detrimental of the financial sector. All that happened through fiscal means. At the same time the fiscal system had low levels of effectivity, which negatively affected the quality of public services. Now the new government of the National Liberal Party promises reform of the fiscal agency, and Bulgaria is given as an example in tax collection
Bulgarians used to connect the governance of the Romanian Social Democratic Party with the redefinition of anti-corruption and the mass protests in protection of the judicial system. PSD’s actions in the fiscal sphere provoked less attention. However, they are also interesting and “innovative”. The comparison with Romanians could always be useful for understanding their and our situation on the road to “the shiny capitalist future”.
The ruling social democrats are accused that they destabilise the country financially, as they win over the voters with their concept of „income-led growth“
This article was published on 30 July 2019 on the site of the Bulgarian newspaper ”Word”.
On 8 July 2019 Romanian president Klaus Iohannis promulgated the new Pensions Law, which outlines a significant growth of pensioners’ income in the following years. The law is a successive measure of the Social Democratic Party, which represets the relatively poorer nd more vulnerable part of the voters. Just as it happened with other similar actions – such as the introduction of special VAT for food in 2015, the current action is criticised by the business circles.
An interview with the Romanian political scientist from the Hyperion University in Bucharest on the European elections and the condemnation of Liviu Dragnea – what happened and what should we expect in the near future
Florin Grecu is a lector doctor in the Hyperion University in Bucharest. He teaches political science – political parties, electoral analysis, European governance, international governance. He has graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at the Bucharest University. His doctorate thesis is ”The construction of an unique party: The National Renaissance Front”.
Mr. Grecu, at the European parliamentary elections in Romania we have observed a great mobilisation of the right-wing forces, while the electorate of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) didn’t mobilise. Why did the first mobilisation take place and why the second one didn’t happen?
What we talk about is a mobilisation of the pro-referendum (on justice – note of the translator) forces, especially of the right-wing parties and a weaker mobilisation of the anti-referendum camp, while the president Klaus Iohannis connected the referendum on justice with the European parliamentary elections. A paradoxical situation unfolded. PSD fell down, while PNL won. The explanation is that a lot of PSD mayors didn’t agree with Liviu Dragnea’s policies and supported other parties – PNL (member of European People’s Party – vote of the translator), Pro Romania (the party of former PSD leader Victor Ponta who withdrew from PSD – note of the translator). Not only the referendum was validated, but the European parliamentary elections were won by the right-wing forces – PNL and USR/Plus. Now there is a motive for vote of inconfidence against the government Dancila.
The veteran analyst explains what Iohannis`s mistake was, who benefits from the changes in justice an why Romania is not on the road to becoming a new Poland or Hungary
Ilie Şerbănescu (b. 1942) is a Romanian economist and analyst, who was minister of reform between December 1997 and April 1998. He has written more than 600 articles and several books. His most recent book is called ”Romania – a colony in Europe`s periphery“ (2016). It studies the different dimensions of the Romanian economy which prove that it is peripheral and dependent on its foreign masters.
Liviu Dragnea (photo: Social Democratic Party (Romania), CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons)
DNA’s new accusations against the leader of Romanian social democrats unveil the essence of political fight in Romania: technocracy’s supporters – the urban middle class, and unelected institutions such as the anti-corruption prosecution limit the attempts of the corrupted and incompetent political system to create troubles
This article was published on 15 November 2017 on the site “Baricada”.
The news that Romanian social democrat’s leader Liviu Dragnea is accused in a third case have strengthened the well-known rhetoric against the representatives of “the red plague” in Romania – the Social Democratic Party, called by the indignant street in short “thieves”. The standard story is that Dragnea’s people represent the local political and business elites, known as “barons”, while the anti-corruption prosecution actions are led by another mighty lobby – the secret services. Social democrats themselves usually use rhetoric against the foreign capital in the country and declare themselves as patriots.
However the story about the fight between secret services and barons, between people and politicians in Romania starts to become boring, because it is being told without change for years. It has weak points at a closer look. But in order to see through the gaps, one has to understand better the context, in which new prosecution charges are brought against Dragnea. DNA’s accusations start as an investigation by the European anti-fraud service OLAF. Dragnea is accused of establishment of an organized criminal group, for abuse of public service and preparation of false documents. OLAF wants the recuperation of 21 million euro, which have been stolen through the firm “Tel Drum”, that is alleged to be affiliated with Dragnea. Romanian state will have to recover the missing sum of money.