Romania: inventory on the eve of the Romanian presidential elections

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By Raoul Weiss.

Romania –  On the 10th of October in Bucharest, the Social-Democratic government fell after a no-confidence vote initiated by the liberal opposition (rather openly guided by president Iohannis) and his allies in the Parliament. A rather insignificant episode in the overall play of the erosion of Romanian statehood, yet this non-event is nevertheless susceptible to various interpretations – which gives us the opportunity to draw up an inventory just a few days before the Romanian presidential elections.

In order to explain the ousting of Viorica Dăncilă’s cabinet, the Western mainstream press (such as Le Monde) proposed a somehow incoherent scenario, which notably ignores the five months elapsed between the setback suffered by the PSD at the European elections (followed by the political and social liquidation of Liviu Dragnea) and the ousting of the Dăncilă cabinet. The loss, on the 26th of August, of the coalition partner ALDE (a centre-right sovereigntist party despite its name) and the extra-coalition support of the Hungarian party UDMR (pushed into a corner by a series of Magyarophobic provocations organised by the Deep State) were already de-facto accomplished upon the downfall of Liviu Dragnea. Furthermore, we have already mentioned the almost perfect kneeling of the PSD in front of the Deep State. One month before the presidential elections, the presence of the puppet Dăncilă at the head of the government was therefore not likely to disturb neither the deep state, nor president Klaus Iohannis in particular, a candidate in his own re-election; the latter, in spite of the vast prerogatives granted to him by the Constitution (upon which he also often overstepped in order to sabotage the stagnant sovereignism of the Dragnea era) was indeed pleased to present himself as some sort of leader of the unified opposition (again, in defiance of the constitution) and couldn’t but rejoice that the puppet government of Dăncilă was formally assuming responsibility for all the losses in sovereignty (especially when it comes to offshore gas) which have multiplied since the imprisonment of Liviu Dragnea.

Yet these corrections to Western propaganda remain circumscribed by the fictional narrative entitled “Romanian internal politics”. The latter has been, at least for the past 15 years, a Potemkin village erected on the arterial roads of Bucharest for the passing with great fanfare of strategic decisions systematically taken outside of this non-sovereign country in which the citizens/voters are limited to electing people subject to various forms of blackmail of the Securitate police state, itself subservient towards Western interests. However, even in this perspective, the departure of Viorica Dăncilă, an ideal punching bag and a faltering figure, does not serve the interests of Klaus Iohannis. The latter, as his recent visit to Washington showed us – is practically controlled by the SRI, itself directly subordinated to the United States; as for the PSD, from this point of view, despite its rhetorical contests, both before and after the fall of Liviu Dragnea, it is more of an Atlanticist ally rather than an adversary – unlike the local Renew Europe submarine: the Barna/Cioloș USR tandem, notoriously linked to euro-German interests (or directly linked to France, in the case of Dacian Cioloș).

Contrary to the mainstream narrative, one cannot exclude that Iohannis and his National Liberal Party were willing to pay lip service to their social-democratic faux-opponent by removing them from the government. In fact, from the Social-Democratic point of view, the challenge is not the survival of the useless Viorica Dăncilă (whose presidential candidature was a mere lure), but the very survival of the party itself. On the other hand, because the Romanian “right” (very much leftist on cultural issues) needs the PSD as a scarecrow as much as lungs needs oxygen, considering its lack of vision and program, in order to keep afloat the “anti-communist” rhetoric (as ridiculous as it is, given the populist-centrist character that the PSD has been assuming for a long time). On the other hand, above everything else, the collapse of the PSD won’t benefit the PNL for too long; the latter, given its role as last man standing from the group of old parties (20th century parties), can only briefly benefit from this situation; in the long run, it will not be able to suck the PSD’s blood: the centrist fringe of the current PSD electorate will end up being transferred (if this is not already the case) to the USR, whereas those who will even vaguely identify as “socialists” (despite the hollowing semantics of the word) will likely end up voting for the “Pro-Romania” start-up of the indestructible Victor Ponta, rival of Dacian Cioloș on the road to become the Romanian incarnation of Macron. In other words: without leaving the fold of the Deep State for a second, the political class risks a reorganisation likely to bring the country closer to the euro-block in the making – which, given the country’s geopolitical and geoeconomical situation, would be definitely preferable to its current Atlantic subjugation, but might also turn Klaus Iohannis’ presence into a superfluous, or even outright embarrassing leftover, thus putting this Sakaashvilli-on-the-Dîmbovița in danger of becoming a Carpathian Plahotniuc.

The Deep State under Atlantic control would rather be interested in maintaining the PSD under artificial respiration – and, even ignoring the various personal blackmail opportunities, the PNL-State which should solidify under the second Iohannis presidency lacks no arguments when it comes to disciplining the PSD. Indeed, they already wave the threat of a reform of municipal election law (from one voting tour to two voting tours), which might make the PSD lose its (notably rural) territorial base – the one and only feature that still makes it different from other Romanian political parties.

Thus, though it is impossible to assert with full certainty that the PNL brought down the Dăncilă government reluctantly, it is also quite clear that it didn’t have a great interest in doing so, one month before presidential elections that the PSD should lose anyway, i.e. before a defeat which would have provided for a far more “democratic” pretext for the well-deserved early retirement of Viorica Dăncilă. Even the control of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, considered to be vital during electoral campaigns, does not justify this move: various strange peculiarities of the results of the European Parliamentary elections in May, adding to the even more bizarre events from the Uz Valley, as well as various revelations concerning former minister Carmen Dan, rather clearly suggest that this Ministry (and in particular its service in charge with counting the votes, the STS), although nominally subordinated to the PSD-ALDE government, has actually never escaped the control of the Deep State.

Therefore, as usual, one might have to look outside Romania in order to find the proper explanation to this episode. More precisely at Brussels, where the formation of the new Commission – now widely considered world-wide to be a de-facto European government – is causing, behind the curtains, unforgiven stand-offs. Since commissioners have to be proposed by governments, after the PSD candidate (Rovana Plumb) was dismissed by the European Parliament, she was supposed, much like her Hungarian companion in misfortune László Trócsányi, to be replaced by another candidate from the same party (in this case: the philatelist Dan Nica); public opinions, both local and international – living under the illusion that Romania is a democratic state under the rule of law – would have had a hard time understanding why the PSD government would appoint a commissioner from the opposition parties (though I’m absolutely sure that Viorica Dăncilă, in a personal capacity, would have been perfectly willing to do so). Add to this picture that Rovana Plumb’s nomination was not displeasing to the V4, as could be deduced from the surprisingly laudatory remarks made this summer by Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán at the Tusnádfürdő / Băile Tușnad festival – in the midst of an interethnic crisis in Szeklerland! – towards his (admittedly not quite equal) counterpart Dăncilă.

Outside this central field of comprador opportunism, there are some hopes for the renewal of the Romanian political scene – quite modest hopes, however.

On the right, a group of Christian intellectuals (orthodox Christians, yet fully aligned with the local neo-protestant network created by the Drang nach Osten of the American Christian Right), which notably include the great philologist Adrian Papahagi and Teodor Paleologu, a philosopher and the son of an illustrious family, is advocating for conservative values – an internally coherent discourse, albeit completely self-contradicting with their geopolitical positions (namely Euro-Atlantic ones – since Papahagi and Paleologu may have failed to notice that Euro-Atlanticism is very much dead by now); furthermore, even if Paleologu’s candidacy is a rather symbolic one, the way in which he decided to present himself to the electorate, namely with the support of the PMP (People’s Movement Party) of Traian Băsescu (whose past as a collaborator of the infamous Securitate is now officially and irrefutably proven), made his anti-communist slogans quite ridiculous; this shows that their only means of challenging the hegemony of the ruling Deep State is to accept a rather dubious alliance with representatives of the previous Deep State. Indeed, these morally impeccable and highly cultured intellectuals, who were formed in the West and returned to Romania during the course of the 2000s, certainly speak English or French better than many native English or French speakers, but their (excessively academic) Romanian ends up being inaudible for the masses, which, in the meantime, have been “reformed” by a far less intellectual emigration, sordid consumerism and a collapse of popular culture and beliefs.

On the left, other intellectuals of a comparable stature (such as Alexandru Mamina, member of the minuscule Socialist Party of Romania, or the young and brilliant deputy Adrian Dohotaru, who comes from civil society) symmetrically reproduce the political blindness of the Paleologu-Papahagi group: subordinating the sovereignty issues to a “social agenda” which is largely phantasmagorical (considering that the response of Romanian society to life quality issues is not the welfare state, but emigration), they blame the PSD for transforming itself into a (less and less effective) union of retirees and public officers (that is to say: of those who can’t emigrate), without ever managing to oppose the growing malign influence of Western multinationals on State institutions (which is the price that Romanian society pays in exchange for the sacrosanct “freedom of movement” – i.e.: the right to emigrate). As one can see, they actually blame the PSD for being representative of Romanian society, namely of a population in the process of renouncing its state representation.

Finally, a miniscule number of intellectual, publicists and activists, highly aware of contemporary issues, knowing that only the joined forces of the two aforementioned movements would be able to challenge the Securitate-State, called for an internal ethnic and political reconciliation and a non-isolationist sovereignism which would allow Romania to integrate into a rebalanced Europe, leaving enough room for nation states to temper the rapaciousness of large international capital and to oppose its social engineering (of migratory, but also biopolitical nature). Having provided conditional, albeit real support to Liviu Dragnea’s policies until his fall, they are subjected to a special treatment from the Romanian Deep State – starting with the undersigned, expelled from the country one year ago on the basis of accusations that have been kept secret. Since several of them (including the publicist Bela Ambrus and the undersigned) have favoured the option of a rapprochement with the V4, they quickly lost (or never had to begin with) the support of the business circles ideologically close to the “Dragnea line”, who have always been an easy prey for the “Transylvanian blackmail” used by the Securitate against all those who dare to move away from the isolationist option.

On the fringes of this group one can find the lawyer George Piperea, number one enemy of the Romanian banking lobby and of the Governor of the (terribly misnamed) National Bank of Romania – whose activism is nevertheless restricted to courts and media outlets (which is maybe preferable, considering the fate of the aforementioned three groups).

Therefore, there is little reason to hope that Romania could any time soon escape its de facto current status as a territory supporting the fiction of a state.