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Sorin Oprescu, PSD's surgeon

Arthur SUCIU

PSD turned into a blurred text. What happens inside the party is disappointing even to fans. Political analysts in the pro-PSD interpretation frame, such as Ion Cristoiu, are increasingly baffled and confused. God knows what miracle it takes to side with Ion Iliescu and Adrian Năstase! As days go by, the disease spreads into the party organism. There is no doubt that PSD needs a surgeon. Could Sorin Oprescu be the one?

The blurred text


The absence of any radical initiative, the unhealthy fear of toeing the line and of telling the truth turns the party into a web of venomous plotting.Ion Iliescu's frozen discourse is mocked by lower-case Adrian Năstase. In order not to be incompatible with the future, the former proclaims himself a founder, instead ofa conservator; the latter, a champion of hypocrisy, of impersonal phrases such as "it has been established ...." The seeker of relativism avoids scandal, and turns into the mere tool of his superior's "consensus building." No wonder that, trying to include everything, he loses ground each passing day. His sincere concern with party unity has become touching, all the more so since nobody else seems to care about party unity. Facts contradict the president's "noble principles". Why did he put so much "objectivity" in analysing Ioan Rus' projects, instead of supporting them immediately and with no hesitation? There's no telling. But here he is now, begging for the support of Ardeal. Why didn't he encourage Mihai Tănăsescu in the latter's statements against redundant Iliescu? There's no telling. But here is Ion Iliescu now, ever more safely installed at the helm of the party. People feel betrayed, and have every reason to. So it should come as no surprise that, out of despair, second-rate tool Victor Ponta bluffed - and was almost kicked out. Drawn into the game by Adrian Năstase, he now awaits for Ion Iliescu's consent to get back in the field. The only good news seems to be that bulldozers such of Miron Mitrea and Dan Ioan Popescu seem to be unable to enter side streets. They have power at top levels, but have more ego than popularity. Completing the picture is Octav Cozmâncă, the one who is busy these days unscrambling, with delicate hands, the Gordian knot.


Inability to build new sense


Moves inside PSD draw too much on past experiences. They mainly teach PSD that all centrifugal shifts from Iliescu have failed (the Meleșcanu case is generally mentioned), and secondly that Liberals and Democrats will quickly lose the reigns of power (the CDR case). At present however there is no sign indicating a "disastrous governance" of the CDR type. Furthermore, a serious long term problem evinced for PSD, namely Traian Băsescu's presence in Cotroceni. As for Ion Iliescu, he is far from representing the party's development line. A scenario in which a disappointed Alliance government would ask for saviour Iliescu's immediate return to power could be kept as a back-up plan at most.But it is self-evident that Ion Iliescu can no longer "make sense" for PSD. At the same time, the reform direction outlined by Adrian Năstase failed with his underperformance in the presidential elections. "Swallowed up" into Iliescu's project, misled by local barons, Năstase finds himself bereft of his medium term political vision, growing ever smaller and senseless, a politician with an office, rather than a political symbol. Internal problems are so complex because, in the electoral battle, everybody lost: both the "conservatives" (Iliescu, Văcăroiu, Mitrea etc.), and the "reformists" (Năstase, Rud, Ponta etc.). The party conflict, vital if change is to be achieved, is unfortunately shaped by a chronic inability to make sense. What sense can one build on two failed projects intertwined? Answer: none.


Vanghelie, of the PSD rank and file


Whereas for PD, the outcome of early Bucharest Mayoralty elections is critical to the election of the next party president, in PSD the issue is repressed. "We won't have anything to do with these elections" - this is what PSD means by appointing Marian Vanghelie as the party's candidate. The reasoning behind shifting from the Mircea Geoană standard to the Marian Vanghelie standard is irrelevant. Sick and tired of throwing pearls to the swine, PSD decided to present the voters with Vanghelie. He is not so much the candidate that PSD deserves, but the one that ungrateful Bucharesters deserve. This almost cynical choice should be however paid due attention to. It shows the lowest point of the chaos in PSD.

These are hard times for the party. There is no chance it will ever win in Bucharest. The question is: is it worth the fight? Vanghelie answered: YES. Nobody dared to venture into this battle. Moreover, throughout the campaign PSD leaders will stand aside and laugh at Vanghelie's illiteracy, just like his opponent Adriean Videanu.

Still, in this battle there are two PSD leaders who committed to backing the incumbent District 5 Mayor: Dan Ioan Popescu and Sorin Oprescu. The former had little choice; as head of the Bucharest branch of the party, he was in charge with appointing a candidate. The latter however had no direct responsibility, and still decided to directly support Vanghelie, to be his image promoter.

There still is someone in PSD who keeps facing reality as it is, isn't it? "What can you do when there's nothing left to do?" What can PSD do, when aware that it stands no chance to win the City Hall? Answer: fight anyway, in all modesty, to show it has not abandoned the battle, that it is concerned with the problems of Bucharest, and to prove its concern. For the time being, the only one in PSD who actually proves this is surgeon Sorin Oprescu.


Năstase's opposite


Both the political timing and the personal character favour Oprescu. If there is in PSD one man able to get inside Traian Băsescu's discourse universe, in the hope of dislodging the latter from there, it can only be Sorin Oprescu. Through his uncomplicated, straightforward style, Sorin Oprescu is Adrian Năstase's opposite. Even after he lost the City Hall- twice, Oprescu is still popular and trusted. Adrian Năstase, in exchange, has constantly had credibility problems, with all his achievements. Las summer, in the PSD primary elections, Oprescu won more votes than party president and presidential runner Adrian Năstase - a surprising and relevant result, which should set them thinking.

PSD has never been a well-liked party, which has been one of its biggest problems. PSD has been voted out of inertia, out of lack of information on alternatives (especially in villages), for its populist promises, etc. Never has PSD attracted, through its doctrine and projects, any outstanding intellectuals; since 1990 to this day, not one citizen has ever got out in the street, to celebrate a PSD victory.

Although a PSD member, Sorin Oprescu has always been well-liked. He is the one who could offer the party a breath of fresh air, who can strengthen its credibility. He is the one who can bring PSD members, frustrated by the unending Iliescu-Năstase switch, closer to the party. If there is, at the moment, one person able to cure PSD's disease, this is surgeon Sorin Oprescu.

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