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A Ro Obama for the presidential election

Small country citizens always have the complex of comparing or contrasting themselves with the citizens of large, powerful states. Romanians are no exception. After the Americans chose the change, some domestic political leaders already talk about the need for a RO Obama in Cotroceni. With every new election in Romania, we need a change. In the presidential election, no president has managed to win two consecutive mandates since December ’92. Why? Because they failed to prove worthy of being re-elected. Most Romanians welcome each election craving for a change. The change of the change of all changes—this is how elections in Romania might be defined. In the latest presidential election, as the late Octavian Paler put it, “we had a choice between two diseases, plague and AIDS.” This year, we will likely have a choice between AIDS and some disability….

Another feature of Cotroceni tenants is their long-lasting intention to change the fundamental law of the country, the Constitution. Within twenty years, Romanians were twice invited to polling stations to amend the Constitution. Every time, the two fundamental laws were shaped to suit the leader of the time, i.e. Ion Iliescu (and Adrian Năstase a bit, in the latter case), but not the Romanian people. Now, President Băsescu wants a change, too. To be accurate, we must note that Emil Constantinescu was an exception: he never ran for a second term in office, nor did he plan to alter the Constitution, while in Cotroceni. Not accidentally, perhaps, he was not a leader of any party, and this may be why he could be the President of all Romanians.
Finding a RO Obama will be hard, as long as the Romanian political landscape is nothing close to the American one, having hardly any democratic-style political culture at all (except for the elites, which unfortunately are scarce and disconnected). In the USA, the Constitution drawn up by the founding fathers is 200 years old, and no President ever tried to change it. They and their citizens have respected it as if it was the Bible. American presidents have been “players” in their own right, but they have played by both written and unwritten rules. But in the US, unlike in Romania, presidents have been elected from among the elite. How well defined are elites in Romania? We may run an opinion poll someday, to find that in Romania this category is seen as including public figures, VIPs, MPs, sportsmen, businessmen, etc., that “elite” is more often than not mistaken for “celebrity.” And assuming a candidate from the Romanian elite is found, there is no way to guarantee that he gets elected, given the recurrence of electoral bribery, as revealed by the latest parliamentary election. Most Romanians are so poor that for them elections of any kind are a blessing. They are sure to get either a large bag of foodstuffs, or a pair of shoes, or a mobile phone, and so on. So our elite runner will have to have a lot of money to finance a presidential campaign. If PSD and PNL and other smaller parties back a common candidate, coming from the elite, then we might have a RO Obama standing chances to be elected. Otherwise, we will still have a government with a 70 per cent parliamentary majority for our (dis)comfort, which will see us “smoothly” through the crisis by slashing our incomes and purchasing power, by forcing people into retirement, into unemployment, into the streets … We will go to polling stations to amend the Constitution in view of an comprehensive reform, so that we might have a unicameral parliament acting as a surrogate National Assembly, and possibly, we will elect a president for life, and stage a perpetual “Târgovişte trial”.

Publicat în : English  de la numărul 63
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