4 December, 2023
Florin Grecu (photo: Florin Grecu)

An interview with the Romanian political scientist from the Hyperion University in Bucharest on the European elections and the condemnation of Liviu Dragnea – what happened and what should we expect in the near future

Vladimir Mitev

Florin Grecu is a lector doctor in the Hyperion University in Bucharest. He teaches political science – political parties, electoral analysis, European governance, international governance. He has graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at the Bucharest University. His doctorate thesis is ”The construction of an unique party: The National Renaissance Front”.

Mr. Grecu, at the European parliamentary elections in Romania we have observed a great mobilisation of the right-wing forces, while the electorate of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) didn’t mobilise. Why did the first mobilisation take place and why the second one didn’t happen?

What we talk about is a mobilisation of the pro-referendum (on justice – note of the translator) forces, especially of the right-wing parties and a weaker mobilisation of the anti-referendum camp, while the president Klaus Iohannis connected the referendum on justice with the European parliamentary elections. A paradoxical situation unfolded. PSD fell down, while PNL won. The explanation is that a lot of PSD mayors didn’t agree with Liviu Dragnea’s policies and supported other parties – PNL (member of European People’s Party – vote of the translator), Pro Romania (the party of former PSD leader Victor Ponta who withdrew from PSD – note of the translator). Not only the referendum was validated, but the European parliamentary elections were won by the right-wing forces – PNL and USR/Plus. Now there is a motive for vote of inconfidence against the government Dancila.

Why did Dragnea alienated an important part of the people of his party?

These are internal issues of PSD. Obviously, there was a rupture on the issue of the funds for local authorities. Mayors have revolted, because their municipalities were not sufficiently financed. The mayors have become very angry, because of insufficient funds.

If government changes and the right comes into power would these mayors receive their money?

I can’t answer. But probably this was the reason why the PSD’s electorate was not mobilised by the PSD mayors. There were regions – such as Vrancea, a PSD bastion, where the party lost to the right. Obviously this was a vote against Dragnea.

The president Iohannis said in his first public speech after the announcement of the results something like – PSD has received nothing, because it did nothing. However, PSD did fiscal and judicial reforms. If a new majority is formed which reforms will be preserved and which will me taken back?

I can’t know for sure, but each government tries to make legislative changes, when it comes to power. For sure, there will be attempts to change the laws in parliament. I wait to see the configuration of the new government.

I understand that this is a turning moment for Romanian politics.

It is a moment of new beginning in Romanian politics after 1989. The same thing happened to Adrian Nastase before (a former party leader to be sentenced to prison – note of the translator). But now for the first time a party leader in function is condemned. The local leaders of PSD will probably reposition themselves in such a situation.

I understand that there will be a change of government?

There will probably be an attempt for a new parliamentary majority. The new government will probably be formed by PNL. The Alliance 2020 could enter in the new government formula, but this is not sure.

What attitude would the PNL and Alliance 2020 electorate have towards a coalition of both forces?

It is very interesting that one of the leaders of Alliance 2020 has already announced that his formation would support the future majority, but will not enter in government. Therefore, the majority would probably be formed by PNL, PMP, Pro Romania and possibly USR, but only through parliamentary support, without participation in government.

What do then the referendum and the European elections results mean, if we take into consideration that the public faith in justice has fallen in the last two years and a half? Would there be a return to “the golden era” of anti-corruption or would there be an evolution of justice to something new?

We will have a political government. If the vote of inconfidence passes, a new majority will be formed. It will be no longer possible to rule through emergency decrees. As far as justice is concerned, the referendum showed that the citizens agreed with what they were asked for (ban on amnesty and ban on usage of emergency decrees for reforms in justice – note of the translator). Therefore, the independence of justice will be guaranteed and the anti-corruption fight will continues, because this is what citizens have approved.

What should we expect by a government of PNL and the other forces?

Most likely it will be a government oriented towards the right. The PSD government has raised salaries and pensions and has given some social advantages to the population. Most likely, a right-wing government will return to austerity measures, will reduce the taxes, etc.

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