Romanian Socialists have no luck with their leaders. I mean they have too many of them and they are too ambitious. When the old leader Ion Iliescu left, the leaders of the Social Democratic Party Adrian Nastase and Mircea Geoana fought each other so effectively that each of them, practically having the victory in the presidential election in their pocket, lost. Against the same politician – Traian Basescu.
Nevertheless, the Socialists were the strongest party, though still in opposition. Basescu, who is a better version of Lech Walesa, was playing in Romania what he wanted. He had a simple recipe for success – a lot of populism, control over the secret service and the files, files, files…
The Socialists had already tried once to dismiss him in 2007 and they almost succeeded because he was suspended but eventually he won in the referendum. Now they are taking another attempt to get rid of the president who stands in the way of another ambitious leader, the current Prime Minister Victor Ponta. The Senate has already suspended the President, they changed the law on referendum to lower the threshold of validity, and the Constitutional Court decided that the President misused some of his powers even though he did not break the Constitution.
The European Union does not like at all what is happening in Romania. They did not like Basescu either but he has been a legally elected President and all attempts of impeachment are considered a priori as an attack on democracy. What has added insult to injury was the fact that the Socialist starts playing the first fiddle and has a chance to overthrow the President from the European People’s Party.
I do not know how the next scene of the struggle for power in Bucharest will end, but I have two reflections. Democracy in the new EU states, twenty years after the revolution, on the second lap gets short of breath. Examples of Hungary, partly of Poland of Kaczynskis, corruption scandals in Bulgaria, Slovakia, are the warning signs. Regardless of who is right, they will be strictly used by the critics of the great enlargement of 2004.
And the second observation. The European Union has got proven methods to call the members to order. The main one is money. This week in Brussels Ponta has heard a clear warning. In addition, for the moment his country can say goodbye to the Schengen accession.