Romania’s non-election

Maybe it’s just us, but we can’t help thinking that this has been the most lacklustre Romanian election campaign since 1990.

Remember: this Sunday there is a general election in Romania. It will be the third time Romanians have gone to the polls this year, following June’s local elections and July’s presidential referendum. Perhaps that explains the total lack of interest being shown by almost anyone involved in the vote. All of the main parties have run low-impact, half-hearted campaigns, the only slight exception being Dan Diaconescu’s PP-DD, which is spending a small fortune in its bid to become the second largest party. (Diaconescu himself is running against Prime Minister Victor Ponta, in a constituency in Targu Jiu). We can only assume that all the main players are happy with what they currently have and are unwilling to rock the boat. Factor in a jaded electorate, a lack of any real debate about real issues, a lack of policies on all sides, general distrust of the entire political class and you could be looking at the lowest turnout in Romania’s post-1989 election history (the current record low turnout was in 2008: 39.2 per cent).

Barring a major upset, the ruling centre-left USL (a fusion of Crin Antonescu’s PNL and Ponta’s PSD) will win, taking anything from 45-55 per cent of the vote. President Traian Basescu’s nominally centre-right ARD (an electoral alliance including the PDL and a couple of small PDL-in-not-very-clever-disguise parties) will probably come second, with around 15-20 per cent. The populist PP-DD will be third (expect it to get a 10-12 per cent share) while the Hungarian nationalist UDMR will take its usual six or seven per cent. The Romanian nationalists, the PRM, will once again miss out on any seats.

While the USL’s victory looks set to be big (the last major opinion poll – published today – puts them at 60 per cent) it is unlikely that it will take the 66 per cent of seats it needs to do any real damage, such as changing the constitution without the need for a referendum. Much will depend, however, on the final number of MPs admitted to parliament, a number which will not be established until after the election (thanks to Romania’s stupid voting system. Read more about that here).

The biggest unknown surrounding the election is probably the name of the person Traian Basescu will nominate for prime minister. If the USL make it past 50 per cent this will almost certainly have to be Victor Ponta, the current prime minister, as leader of the USL. Crucially, however, Basescu has yet to confirm this would be the case.

Should the USL fall below 50 per cent however, then Basescu would be obliged to name nobody in particular. There are bits and pieces in the constitution which vaguely mention naming somebody from the winning party, but as both the USL and ARD are alliances of more than one party, much is open to interpretation. Basescu would be able to claim that deciding which actual party (and not alliance) took the most seats is a moot point. He would therefore be able to name whoever he feels will be best able to form a government. Cue chaos.

There are whispers that Basescu will not name Ponta as PM under any circumstances. Should that be so, the USL will declare all out war on Basescu, and will probably initiate another presidential suspension. If Basescu fails to nominate Ponta despite the USL having a parliamentary majority it would be very difficult see how the European Union – so vociferous in its condemnation of the suspension of Basescu in the summer – could object all that much to such a move this time around.

Once again then, it’s not the outcome of the election that we need to pay attention to, it’s the outcome of the outcome. Given how boring the campaign itself has been, the week or two after the election could be fun.

  • Crae

    Interesting free-range discussion. A bit startling that Parmalat immediately equates women’s political participation with “pu$$y for sale,” but then again he’s an Islamist who poses on his FB with a bottle of liquor. Probably used to paying absent social skills. Anyway, curious that neighboring Bulgaria, in contrast to Romania, has many women operatives and politicians despite a large Muslim population. Wonder why that is.

    Seems like Romania has a bad case of political confusion and fatigue. The effort to turf out Basescu did not work owing to apathy. What will it take to get people interested in government again? A rising star? A stark choice? Interesting to see how the lackluster election works out.

    • Parmalat

      Of course I’m used to paying, it’s the easy way.

      Do I like social skills? Certainly I do, but I don’t need them anymore.

    • Parmalat

      85% of my interaction with women in the last 10 years happened when I bought pu$$y.

      The fact is they don’t care about anything serious, they just want to have fun, sex and lots of money to spend all the time. And that attitude is not compatible neither with politics or business or anything else that requires a degree of seriousness. Nobody discriminates them, they just don’t care.

      Maybe in the West all women had fun, sex and lots of money to spend their entire lives and now they got tired of them and want to be involved in politics and they feel discriminated. It’s obviously not the case in Romania.

      Also, another difference between Romania and the West is that we actually have beautiful women which nobody will ever think about discriminating. The presence of a beautiful Romanian woman is highly appreciated by everyone.

      But since in the West you don’t have what we have and men discriminate women on purpose (I would do the same thing if a 100kg lady would come and ask me for a job =)) ), you come to Romania and think it’s the same.

      Well it’s not, Romania is being ran by pu$$y and you’re white, male and from the West – pu$$y will expect you to pay and make her life beautiful, it’s that simple.

      • C.B.

        You are a pig Parmalat, I feel sorry for you!!!

        • Parmalat

          I never pretended to be any other animal =))))

  • Andy H

    This table shows Romania at 108th in the word on gender equality in parliament

    This doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon: The other day I drove to Bucharest (or Otopeni, anyway), and passed hundreds of election posters, depicting upwards of 50 separate candidates. One of them was a woman.

    • Parmalat

      Don’t you think that women should do something in order to deserve to be a candidate, just like men do?

      If you want to be a candidate for a party, you either have to be coming from their youth pool or buy your place on the list. Nobody forbids women to become candidates, but there are rules which everyone needs to respect.

      • Expatescu

        That’s a false analysis. In order to do something to deserve to be a candidate, there needs to be access to action, power, and opportunity. That is is systemically much more-difficult for women in Romania (and many, many other places) to achieve. Don’t blame the victim.

        • Parmalat

          I don’t understand who forbids them opportunities. Cause if I want to get hired tomorrow, in 9 out of 10 companies I’m gonna meet a bunch of women who can throw my resume to the trash bin whenever they want.

          And they actually do, women only hire women. On rare occasions they hire men. Us men are the ones who are getting discriminated over here.

          And if we manage to actually do something in this life by using our head cause we don’t have pussies to guide us or to sell – we run over feminists who want to reinvent the market economy.

          Women, as well as men, must prove that they deserve to occupy a position or be offered an opportunity, this is no discrimination it’s market rules.

          • Expatescu

            Bollocks. Romanian politics is a boys club, as are the higher echelons of Romanian power. A pity you can’t recognize your own male privilege.

            • Parmalat

              Romanian politics is a boys club because women are not willing to get involved into serious stuff.

              Male privilege? In my line of business there’s no privilege, you may well be a dog – if you know when to push the button that’s it, you’re a winner. Otherwise you starve to death in front of the monitor and there’s gonna be nobody to find out that you’re dead so he can bury you.

              Also in my line of business pu$sy has no value and it can’t be sold, pu$sy doesn’t move the markets.

              So I don’t care if you’re a man, a woman or a dog. Just prove that you can do the job better than the other candidates.

              • Parmalat

                The financial markets are about the only f*cking place left in this entire world where you can’t trade pu$sy for money. It’s a territory dedicated to brains alone.

                • Expatescu

                  These rants are so entertaining, if also pathetic. You know how to put the “more” in “moron.”

                  Privilege is largely invisible, and if you’re white, male and from the west (which, ultimately, Romania is part of despite your protestations otherwise) and can’t tell you’re walking around with all sorts of advantages you never asked for…well…maybe you should convert back to Islam and head for some like minds in a remote Afghani cave.

                  • Parmalat

                    Maybe you should head for that Afghani cave and enjoy the privilege of being white, male and from the West.

      • Mr Rearguard

        What rules Parmo? People in power here make it up as they go along.

        • Parmalat

          Of course Mr Rearguard, it’s called adaptation =))

    • Mr Rearguard

      No doubt it was a geezer in drag.

    • Parmalat

      And from the table you mentioned it comes out that India, Cyprus and Brazil for example have a lower percentage of women in the parliament than Romania does, yet that didn’t forbid those countries to achieve economic development.

      On the other hand, Rwanda and Cuba have the biggest percentage of women MPs in the world.

      There’s obviously no advantage gained by a country for just having women in politics. So in the end it all comes down to what I said: whoever wants to do politics or business or whatever must prove that he/she deserves it.

  • Andy H

    I think it’s certainly gone from the agenda. I think most people (I would hope in all of the provinces) just want some kind of regionalism so that the rest of the country feels less like a massive whirlpool in which all money and talent is sucked inevitably into Bucharest never to be seen again.

    This gets talked up a lot, and increasingly so, but I’ll believe it when I see it. (At one point I think the Szekelys were a little upset that the proposed region was HR/CV/BV rather than HR/CV/MS which would have been basically Szekelyfold and would have had a clear Hungarian majority, but now I think they just don’t care and like everyone else are hoping that politicians in Bucharest just get on with it.)

    • Andy H

      This is supposed to be in reply to Parmalat’s response to my original post right at the bottom of this page. No idea why it ended up up here

      • Mr Rearguard

        @Andy-D Geezer in drag was for you with regards to those old farts in parliament who are in fear of tall beautiful intelligent women. I am afraid that beautiful intelligent women frighten and appall me. I withdraw my offer of sex and shall scuttle away in horror, eugh!

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  • Mr Rearguard

    “Romanians have gone to the polls this year, following June’s local elections and July’s presidential referendum. Perhaps that explains the total lack of interest being shown by almost anyone involved”…………………..Errr yeah!!

  • Mark

    Changing the constitutions without a referendum? Please elaborate!

    • The constitution can be changed if 66 per cent of parliamentarians vote to do so, with no need for recourse to a referendum. I believe that is the case anyway.

      • Parmalat

        They need 66% in order to talk about changes in the Constitution, meaning that once they agree on the changes and vote them in the Parliament where they need 66% of the votes – after that the changes must be submitted to the people for approval so they still need a referendum.

        The 66% is only the first step, the parliamentary decision.

        • I see. But they could change the law requiring a 50 per cent turnout at any such referendum, no?

          • Mark

            Regarding changing the constitution, a referendum is mandatory.

            The referendum law says the following about ”changing the constitution”:

            CAPITOLUL II
            Organizarea referendumului national

            SECTIUNEA 1
            Referendumul privind revizuirea Constitutiei

            (2) Rezultatul referendumului se stabileste in functie de majoritatea voturilor valabil exprimate pe intreaga tara, astfel: Cifre absolute Procente

          • Parmalat

            No, actually all other referendums EXCEPT the one that was meant to put Basescu down are not required a minimum turnout in order to be validated.

            Why? Because the Constitutional Court said a few months ago that if you want to put Basescu down you need to have a minimum turnout. The reason of this statement and interpretation is beyond everyone’s power of understanding.

            That’s exactly the reason for which the Constitutional Court is even more illegitimate than Basescu and must be dismissed pronto after the elections.

            • Mark

              You still owe me at least 5 beers regarding the fact Basescu is still the president (hooorah!) of Romania.

              • Parmalat

                Well, are you in Bucharest?

                We could have those beers tomorrow or next week cause on Saturday it’s my father’s birthday and I’m gonna spend Sunday together with my USL friends, and of course – use the occasion in order to lobby for some projects :mrgreen:

                Tomorrow or anytime next week, what will it be?

                • Mark

                  You are going to spend time with your USL friends? That makes me puke (seriously!)

                  • Parmalat

                    Funny, I have the same feeling for people who voted Basescu and the PDL, that’s when I don’t think about putting their heads in a pole.

                    Some political cleansing should be happening in Romania, something similar to Srebrenica cause it seems that we can’t go on like that anymore.

  • Andy H

    BTW, I’m reluctant to describe the USL as centre left, despite what the lazy foreign media want to pigeonhole them as. I mean the PSD have always been a bunch of populists, who may be vaguely left economically but are pretty right wing socially.

    But now the USL has Gigi Becalie standing under its banner, the “left” banner is looking decidedly tattered. How can anyone describe that racist homophobic bigot as left? He makes Vadim Tudor look reasonable.

    • Left and right have been in tatters for years, and not just in Romania. I only used those terms vaguely, following the norms applied by the general press.

      As for Vadim Tudor being reasonable, the odd outburst every now and then aside has he not been relatively sane for a while? It is probably why he will not get a seat.

      • Andy H

        Relative to what? How he was before? I haven;t really noticed much change frankly – he still seems like the same old bigoted fraud he always was.

        He’s even gone back to denying the holocaust ever happened in Romania.

        • Relative to what he was before, yes. Might just be that he rarely gets a look-in these days. Can’t remember the last time I saw him on television. Then again, I am avoiding TV as much as possible.

          • Parmalat

            He only appears in tabloid-like shows like “Un Show Pacatos” where he swears some bitches and those bitches swear him.

            I suppose they all get lots of money for swearing live on tv, it’s about the only thing (except Antena 3 and OTV) which makes an audience these days.

            He’s finished as a politician, we need another Romanian nationalist to put in the race.

        • As for the Holocaust in Romania, somebody left a comment a few weeks back on a Bucharest IYP feature about December 1 saying ‘Antonescu’s regime was not fascist.’ Difficult to know where to start with some of these people.

          • Antonescu as in Marshall Ion, not Crin, that is. Although…

        • laur

          ti ar holocaustu al dracu ca au trecut 300 de ani.

      • Phil

        I think international media have to give these parties some kind of label, as their readers won’t know or be interested in the ins and outs of Romanian politics – they will probably only read one or two stories in a year. It’s difficult to distinguish between them otherwise – effectively both sides are populist with ludicrously unrealistic policies in their manifestoes and even apart from Becali, the vast majority of politicos are a bad joke. Ponta the plagiarist, Basescu the securisti, Nastase the jailbird, Antonescu the non-fascist…
        I’ll be interested to see Tokes pans out – the last I heard his party was hardly getting any support, but I’m not up to date on Szekelyfold. Would certainly shake things up if he kept UDMR below 5%.

        • Do UDMR not have a certain number of seats reserved regardless of how many votes they get?

          • Parmalat

            No, only the other minorities have seats reserved. UDMR runs as a regular party with a Hungarian nationalist agenda.

            • Phil

              Well, 1 seat reserved as for all minorities, no? Though it does not have to be UDMR necessarily. The rest depends on how many constituencies it wins and then redistribution – which they will not get if they fall short of 5%. I don´t know how many they are likely to win outright but Andy may have an idea.

              • Parmalat

                There’s gonna be 17 MPs from the minorities (Jewish, Turkish, Tatar, German, Italian etc…), these are guaranteed seats.

                The Hungarian minority does not have a guaranteed seat.

                • Phil

                  Indeed, I remember that´s the case only now that you mention it. But it does beg the question why the Hungarians don´t get their 1 guaranteed seat – is it just because the minority is so big?

                  • Parmalat

                    Since they usually get 5% of the seats and it’s been like that ever since 1992, nobody ever thought about granting them an extra seat I presume…

  • Andy H

    There is slight interest here, because there is a second Hungarian party standing (for the first time as I understand it in a national election), the Erdelyi Magyar Neppart

    This is as far as I can work out an electoral vehicle for Laszlo Tokes who never seems to get on with anyone and flits from party to party trying to find one which can accommodate his ego. Now he’s created his own so as to get around that problem.

    Anyway, they are campaigning on an explicit platform of autonomy for Szekelyfold (which differentiates them from the UDMR, which sort of implies that’s what it wants but never comes out and says it).

    What this means electorally, of course is that if they take something like 1.5% of the national vote – or more accurately approximately 25% of the Hungarian vote – they will push the UDMR below the 5% threshhold, which will make a huge difference to the makeup of the parliament.

    • Parmalat

      I would really enjoy Laszlo Tokes catching 50% of the Hungarian votes, unfortunately I don’t believe the Hungarian minority cares about autonomy anymore…

      • Phil

        There was a poll today (Public Affairs) that put UDMR on 5% and Tokes on 1.2

        • Andy H

          Which seems to be roughly how it turned out (at least as far as exit polls suggest)