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The beginning of PSD’s end

Biggest protests in Romania since the fall of Communism, January 2017. Bucharest, Romania. | Facebook - Aurel Virlan Photography

By Ioan Bucuraș

Things are looking grim for the Romanian Social Democrats. Their obsession and nemesis, Laura Codruta Kövesi, has been given green light by both European Parliament and the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) to become the first EU Chief Prosecutor. Their nominee for Commissioner, Rovana Plumb, who cannot justify the huge fortune she amassed while being chiefly employed as a public servant, will most likely fail to pass the hearings in the parliamentary committees. They are facing a vote of no confidence back home and finally, their presidential candidate has slim chances to enter the second round of the presidential elections this fall, which would mean the weakest electoral performance in the party’s history.

Make no mistake, the current party political realities and their continuous effort to mitigate anti-corruption laws, while shielding their corrupt leaders, infuriated the Romanian public to bits. The infamous ordinance 13, which focused on pardoning corrupted related crimes, ignited the biggest protests that Romania has witnessed after the fall of Communism and the Ceausescu regime.

Relying on a disciplined voter hub and generalised apathy after the presidential elections in 2014, the establishment party PSD won the parliamentary elections in 2016 by a landslide and focused heavily on dismantling the judiciary ever since.

Despite all the odds, PSD still has its faithful clientele, which is present in all public structures and in the private sector and which tacitly approved of all of the party’s wrongdoings, primarily because it was convenient to do so. Thick and dedicated public procurement contracts, promotion of the party’s clientele in various public functions and generally scrounging investments and decision-making bodies has kept the governing party in power and also deeply embedded and rooted it in big parts of the civil society.

Nonetheless, there were never as many dark clouds above the party as there are today and the storm they are about to cause will wreak havoc. We are now witnessing the slow demise of the establishment that was mainly built by 2nd ranked Communists of the defunct PCR.

There are finally genuine alternatives on the Romanian political scene which managed to crack down on the voter apathy that kept the corrupt establishment party PSD in power for decades. Chances that these parties will govern are growing daily, but the burden that falls on their shoulders is huge. There’s a lot of cleaning up to do and this will take time. A lot of it. And time is the most precious token in a young democracy. Let’s hope that this won’t lead to the establishment’s resurrection.

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