about us | newsletter | contact | archive | members area
Gabriel Pantelimon, Xerox
Romania has also become known for its high quality human resources»
  Features:      COUNTRY FOCUS   |   SECTOR ANALYSIS   |

Populist Christian Reformer: the Basescu pitch

Weeks before the election for the Head of State, President Traian Basescu is pitching himself to the Romanian people as a populist Christian Democratic reformer.

October 2009 - From the Print Edition

In a recent speech delivered to Parliament the incumbent leader attempted to lay out his credentials as a revolutionary force battling a pampered elite.
Although critics could argue that being the Head of State for five years makes him a significant member of the elite, he claims his objectives have been unfulfilled because of a permanent confrontation between forces of reform against a “self-satisfied and inert society” that wants to keep its privileges, many of which were inherited through connections with the top echelons of the Communist hierarchy. The incumbent is selling himself as a reformer by claiming he is in the middle of a revolutionary process and needs another five years to clean up justice, streamline Parliament and see Adrian Nastase behind bars.
Basescu has styled himself as a Christian Democratic leader who wants the church to be involved in schools, hospitals and social affairs. He said the institution has “an important role” in defining the historical identity of Romania. But recently Basescu welcomed a report calling for the legalisation of prostitution and, historically, he has advocated the rights of homosexuals with more progressive rhetoric than any of his challengers. Romania’s Orthodox Church does not, as yet, accept gays or lesbians as priests. Nor does it condone marriage for homosexuals and views certain practices associated with their sexuality with much disapproval. Unsurprisingly, the Church has not come out as a firm lobbyist for labour rights for working girls and rent boys. While Basescu publicly states he wants more of a role for the Church in public affairs, his policy line on social issues is not always in sync with that of the Orthodox Church’s conservatism.
His ambition for the next five years includes reforming the Constitution to create a single chamber Parliament and a change in the role of the President, which could give the post more power and immunity. But while many commentators invoke the fear of a revival of dictatorship, this is likely to only benefit the next President, as Basescu is (so far) restrained to only two terms in office. The leader seems more concerned about his legacy than the possibility of affording himself further personal control.
Because he cannot fight the leadership, he is instead battling with the past. His rhetoric talks of his conflict with the “old order” - this is a slight against the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which he still characterises as a Communist Trojan Horse in a post-1989 democracy.
Recently he spoke of Romania in 2004, before he was first elected, as a kleptocratic autocracy which “tolerated corruption at high level, limited the freedom of the press and marginalised the opposition” as well as penalising the emerging middle class with high taxes. He also bundled together the nation’s 1989 Revolution and the 1990 Mineriade, when Ion Iliescu asked miners to break apart an anti-neo Communist demo in Bucharest, implying this was a collective Romanian Ground Zero where 1,600 people died and no one was found guilty.
This presidential season each of the candidates will be vying to see who can encapsulate the spirit of the Revolution weeks before its 20th Anniversary - who can best capture the force of reform against reaction. None of the candidates were revolutionaries, but the campaign may turn out to be a cynical display where each competitor will be trying to ally himself with those standing in front of the firing line, while framing his opponent as the one pulling the trigger.

Michael Bird

There are 0 comments:

Validation Code

0 Comments  |  8063 Views
Daily Info
President Iohannis: Interconnection projects revealed at Three Seas Initiative summit are a top level political signal

The list of priority interconnection projects presented within the Summit of the Three Seas Initiative is "a top level political signal", on Tuesday stated Klaus Iohannis, in ...

Vodafone to lay off 1,700 service center employees in Romania, India and Egypt

Vodafone, one of the biggest telecom groups in the world, will lay off 1,700 employees from its service centers in Romania, India and Egypt, in this financial year, the group'...

European Property Federation elects Liviu Tudor as new President

The European Property Federation Managing Committee elected Liviu Tudor, CEO of Genesis Property and President of the Romanian Association of Building Owners, as President of ...

Commisioner Cretu: Romania has a high level of women representation in the digital sector

Romania is one of the countries of the European Union with a high level of representation of women in the digital sector, said European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corin...

Romania gets 450 million Euro loan from EIB for rural development programme

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending 450 million Euro to Romania to finance its national contribution to the implementation of the Romanian Rural Development Programm...






More on Features
US calls for coherent, long-term strategy

As USA celebrates 4th of July, its eyes are wide open on the latest developments in Romania's ongoing struggle for the rule of law. Still, the country is one of the fastest...

French investments at a glance: Interest still high

France, Romania's fourth largest foreign direct investor, has been around since the early 1990s, with flagship names the likes of Societe Generale or Groupe Renault taking ...

Romanian energy industry: Challenges to Overcome

With a national strategy draft still to be approved, Romania faces many challenges, as the energy market is striving to find a way to attract major investments that are cri...

High potential for sustainable growth on Romanian FM market

Facility Management is still a developing market in Romania, with a lot of challenges to overcome. The Romanian Facility Management Association (ROFMA) analyses the relevan...

Rising potential for green developments

With GDP growth outperforming neighbouring CEE countries by a significant extent, 2017 was very good for the real estate market in Romania, especially for the office, inves...

EnergyPal: The market must invest in innovation and develop worker qualifications

Romania's facility management sector in 2017 has seen changes in terms of increased market dynamic due to new office developments and also logistic sector growth, according...

Romanian office market ripening, in both leasing and acquisition

From the investment standpoint, lower rates of return and increased liquidity lure the investors, Andreea Paun, Managing Partner, Griffes said in an interview for The Diplo...