In the last two parliamentary general elections held in Romania the total number of votes cast was around 40 percent of those eligible to vote. Or, to put it in a more scary way, 60 percent of Romanian’s eligible to take part in the election of their government consistently fail or refuse to do so.
If we consider that the winning coalition of the Social Liberal Union USL won 57 percent of the 40 percent of the electorate who did vote, it is fair to say that not one single political party in Romania can claim more than 15 percent electoral support in the country and the new government stands at around 23 percent of the total electorate. These figures are very rough but the message is clear. The lack of involvement of 60 percent of the Romanian population in the election of their government is Romania’s real and continuing political crisis.
In effect Romania’s political parties are only working with their core voters, the die-hards with life-long affiliations who will vote for the party label no matter what, the people who hate the other guys so much that they will go out to vote against them in any weather and the people who have been bought for an icon or a few RON in these dreadful financial times.
The parties are completely failing to engage with the rest of the population, the 60 percent who are not voting because no-one is giving them a good enough reason to go out in bad weather to express a preference. They are not impressed by parties who construct campaigns around personal insults. They may actually want to be presented with programs for government telling them how the country’s economy, health service, education and infrastructure will be managed and improved. They may not be impressed by the incompetence exhibited by the government throughout the Oltchim fiasco. They may wish for better than to see the country’s President calling the Prime Minister names on national television. They may even hope for a positive future for the country but they are not being shown any vision or leadership by the parties, so why should they vote?
Whatever the reasons, it is absolutely clear that 60 percent of the Romanian electorate do not think that the politicians they are offered are worth voting for. No matter who Mr Basescu decides to nominate as Prime Minister, and it is obvious that Mr Ponta is his only rational choice, the governing coalition commands the support of a minority within the country, regardless of their strong showing amongst those who did vote. And that is fundamentally not good.
By Ronnie Smith, Guest Writer