Last year was probably one of the most challenging years in post communist Romania when it comes to politics. Daily scandals and wholesale manipulation came from all political parties and politicians. At the end of the year, in December, the general elections brought a clear result: almost 70 percent in favor of the Social Liberal Union USL. For many people, this result represented a new beginning and brought hope, for others, more pragmatic and cynical, the result was not a surprise and didn’t mean anything new. As half a year has passed since the new Government took the reigns of the country, it is time to look back and review the changes. What can one find?
Political scandals are still on the agenda. I will only mention a few: the unexpected ‘cohabitation’ agreement between the president and the Prime Minister, the PM’s proposal to include the Magyar Union UDMR in the cabinet, Laura Codruta Kovesi’s nomination to lead the National Anti-Corruption body DNA, the scandal involving former journalist and now MP Sorin Rosca Stanescu, and more recently, the arrest of the Antena Group media manager. So focus seems to still be on political debates and scandals, despite of Romania’s real problems.
Next in line come the policies dictated by the country’s financier the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Even if the USL argued against some of these policies, they are still being followed.
Meanwhile, job perspectives are increasingly uncertain for Romanians and the Government does not seem to be taking any concrete measures to create new jobs. On the privatization front, the privatization of Oltchim and of Posta Romana failed. And all this while, to me it has seemed suspect how the Government chose to keep silent on the errors and / or corruption facts made by the members of the previous cabinet, led by the now opposition, the Democrat Liberal Party PDL.
I’m aware of the difficulties around the World, it is not easy for anyone, I agree with the necessity to respect the international and European agreements signed by Romania, but, what I can’t understand is how those who rule the country succeeded in such a short period of time to avoid almost all their main promises from electoral campaign.
I’ve been looking around to find them. Where are the the economical, financial and social coherent policies? Where is the improvement in the business environment? Where are the new jobs? Where is Romania’s new and improved, international brand? Where are the great corruption networks – have they been dismantled without us knowing? And finally, where is the much needed political and financial stability? I for one have trouble finding all these things.
These seem to have stayed only generous and politically or economically correct ideas, but in reality, we’ve been watching on TV a few media shows, most of which involved the arrest of sports mogul Gigi Becali.
What have we, the regular Romanian citizens, gained in the last months? If you ask me, almost nothing. Well, to be accurate, we’ve probably been under the same austerity policies accompanied by softer words and a new promise for an indeterminate, but definitely better future. About the so called political stability which is so frequently mentioned, I think that the majority of Romanians have lost their hope. Watching the current Romanian political scene I’m not sure that our politicians want stability per se, I believe they want only to improve the country rating which can assure – in specific conditions – loans with more acceptable interest rates. The members of the political class in Romania seem to have one main objective: to appear daily on TV channels, increase their notoriety, as they know that here, at the gates of the Orient, it is important to be seen, irrespective of what you say or do. I remember how once, a very important Romanian politician told me “For a politician, it is important to be daily in people’s home via the media, it doesn’t matter if people hate you, as long as they talk about you. If they don’t speak about you, you don’t exist as a public person.” So with this strategy in mind, politicians invade the media daily and Romanians only have two options: to watch/ listen (and maybe curse) or to turn off the TV.
So when looking at what happens in countries like Turkey, Greece, Spain, where people also probably turn off the TVs but then show their anger somehow, in many cases in the street, I must conclude by saying Romanians must be the most patient people in the world.
By Mariana Ganea, guest writer
(photo source: sxc.hu)