Numerele anterioare2, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71,
Local elections will deepen current political conflict
Arthur SUCIUThe local elections will entail multiple and far-reaching changes in the political life, triggered by the introduction of the uninominal voting for the chairmanship of county councils, by the new forms of access to resources and the very complex political situation. The shift in emphasis from the central to the local administration already took place in 2004, when leading representatives of PD, in particular, won the mayor seats in major cities, raising the stakes in the race for city halls. This time around, changes will be a lot deeper.
Mass-media have expressed concerns that the introduction of the uninominal voting system for the election of county council chairs will reload the PSD local barons. Possible, but not essential in explaining this new phenomenon. Because local barons, whether from PSD or other parties, will control — at least in part — the access to resources in a county, and will become much more powerful players than they used to be, both at a local and at a national level. As they have direct links to governmental funds, that they are to distribute to town halls, county council chairmen will be the virtual gate-keepers in local politics. They will be elected by a larger number of citizens than a mayor or MP is, and without doubt they will try to take full advantage of this legitimacy, claiming broader attributions. Their political importance will therefore outweigh that of city mayors and of MPs. The county council uninominal system is almost certain to turn the current administrative units into quasi-autonomous regions, if not fiefs controlled by county-level decision-makers. This will eventually lead to a political levelling at a county level. There will be entire counties controlled by certain parties, and everything will revolve around this control, because basically it secures access to the key source: the Government. Voters will be explicitly told that voting for a party of the same political colour as the county council chairman means one additional chance to benefit from more funds from the Government in order to solve local problems.
The introduction of the uninominal voting system generates complex relationships between MPs and chairs of county councils. Elected in a smaller constituency than a county, MPs will also be the representative of the nation (under the constitutional principle of the non-imperative mandate). MPs will be probably more legitimate than they used to be, but less legitimate than county council chairpersons. The latter will enjoy larger representation coverage, while at the same time being directly responsible for their own electoral pools. The strange occurrence that an MP is less legitimate than an elected local official will distort power relations, in the sense that MPs may find themselves subordinated to the county council chairpersons in order to be able to keep their fiefdoms. This is actually what Traian Băsescu did when he contrasted his direct election by the nation to the election of MPs in constituencies. A proof that this is not mere speculation is the announcement of the PD-L parliamentarian Radu Berceanu for the chairmanship of the Dolj County Council. Forecasting what would happen, Berceanu claimed Parliament was no longer a challenge for him. Also, PD-L heavyweight and Deputy Gheorghe Flutur will run for the helm of the Suceava County Council. Adding to this is the effort of the PSD Deputy Miron Mitrea to impose the uninominal voting system in the county council, at the request of the party’s local barons in Moldavia. Mention should be made that county council chiefs already had significant influence at a local and often at a central level as well (in 2001-2004 there were local party branches headed by barons, where the party president Adrian Năstase himself was unable to have his say).
Towards a local Mafia system
At least in a first stage, i.e. in the forthcoming term in office, chances are the coagulation will not take place, and, on the contrary, we may witness a broadening of the political conflict, which would expand from central structures to local ones. Due to its high approval rates, PD-L is likely to win the most county council chairs (as it is a one-round election), whereas the ruling PNL has poor chances to access these positions. On the other hand, the majority in the same councils may be made up by PNL and PSD. Similar occurrences will be reported without doubt in local councils and in relationships between the county council and town halls. Those county council chiefs who are not members of the ruling party will harshly oppose Power and accuse it of biased fund distribution, as Traian Băsescu did when a Mayor General of Bucharest. Therefore, after the elections and depending on temporary political interests, the Budget Act is expected to be modified so that the money may reach the right people. But the Government will have a hard time explaining why funds must be channelled, let’s say, towards town halls rather than to the county officials elected in the uninominal system. In turn, mayors will complain that county council chairmen will not earmark sufficient funds for their needs. The entire network will generate bottlenecks, as it is the case today as well, and it will end up by creating a very efficient local mafia system.
The capital city as an opportunity, in political terms as well
The prospect of actual regionalisation makes any local administration position a highly important one. While in the 2004 election the results in Bucharest and Cluj had a major impact on the parliamentary and presidential elections, reinforcing a particular trend, in 2008 things will likely be different. The dissemination of power towards the local administration makes the Bucharest election to be only about the interests of Bucharest locals. Unquestionably, only time will tell whether the people of Bucharest have made a political choice, with a symbolic value for the country as a whole, or a practical choice, so as to have local interests met. What is evident at this stage however is that Bucharest locals are losing interest in political-symbolical choices. While the capital city remains an essential target, this has to do increasingly with the development potential of the city, with the opportunities it can offer.
For the time being, the type of choice that citizens will make is not clear, which is why the main parties, PSD and PD-L, have problems choosing their candidates. PSD is to choose between the Bucharest branch leader Marean Vanghelie and doctor Oprescu, but none of them seems the best solution. In turn, PD-L is yet to decide on its runner, with nominees including the district 3 mayor Liviu Negoiță and the PD-L secretary general Vasile Blaga. Since they haven’t made up their minds on the candidate for the City Hall, the question of district candidates has not even been tackled. These uncertainties are in part accounted for by the situation within parties. Indeed, the competition between Oprescu and Vanghelie is a reflection of the PSD internecine war between the Geoană and the Iliescu-Năstase camps. The beginning of the end for PSD, in 2004, was the loss of the Bucharest City Hall (by the incumbent president Mircea Geoană). This is also where the PSD upturn may begin. Oprescu is the old guard in PSD, the one whose victory in Bucharest is supposed to rehash the hopes of the Iliescu-Năstase group. But on the one hand, the paradigm that we saw at work in 2004 is no longer viable today (a return to the two political blocs headed by Băsescu and Năstase is highly unlikely now); on the other hand, the political role of the Bucharest City Hall is changing (the city hall is increasingly what it is supposed to be, namely an administrative unit). Probably the best option for PSD would be to nominate a new-guard politician, who is not rejected by Iliescu and Năstase’s people either (Cristian Diaconescu may be one such candidate).
With PD-L, something else is on the line: the Democrats fear that they may lose the City Hall, after Traian Băsescu had turned it into their stronghold. The loss of the City Hall would be a tough blow for PD-L leaders, particularly considering that the current Democratic-Liberal Mayor has failed people’s expectations. On the other hand, in the runoff PNL is willing to back the PSD candidate (except Vanghelie, probably), should the Liberals’ Ludovic Orban fail to win enough votes.
A turning point for all parties
The very complex central political situation will influence this year’s local elections after all. Beyond local communities’ wish to elect as good representatives as possible, the political dimension of the election cannot be overlooked. In order to win seats and form majorities, PSD and PNL will have to join forces at a local level. In spite of the two parties’ attempts to avoid a political deal, the local elections will leave them no other choice. It will no longer be possible to deny the ties between PNL and PSD, which would force them into a pre-electoral alliance. After the local elections, one of the prickliest issues for PSD and PNL will be to define and manage their relationship.
This year’s local elections are ill-timed for all parties. After the National Council meeting this year, the turmoil in PSD seems to ease out. But the party is far from its past glory. The local elections may confirm its electoral dive. PNL, which is also falling, is about to lose important areas that it used to control, particularly in the urban environment. Although it is expected to win a large number of town halls and county councils, PD-L may have problems forming majorities and, more importantly, it may miss the opportunity of becoming a majority party. The local elections will most likely yield no clear winner whatsoever.
By Arthur SUCIU
Publicat în : English de la numărul 55
Revolutia din decembrie 89: Pacatul originar, sacrificiul fondator este prima carte dintr-o serie de sapte volume dedicate ultimelor doua decenii din istoria României. Nu am pretentia ca sunt detinatorul unui adevar politic, juridic sau istoric incontestabil, si sunt gata sa discut si sa accept orice documente, fapte sau marturii care pot lumina mai bine sau chiar altfel realitatea. Educatia mea stiintifica si religioasa m-a ajutat sa cercetez faptele în mod obiectiv, eliberat de ura sau intoleranta. Recunosc însa o anume încrâncenare în ceea ce am scris venita din durerea unui om care a trait în miezul evenimentelor si se simte lovit de acceptarea cinica a crimelor, abuzurilor, coruptiei si minciunii, sau de indiferenta la fel de cinica cu care sunt înca privite de catre o mare parte a societatii românesti.... Am scris aceste carti de pe pozitia victimelor mintite sau speriate, care nu-si cunosc sau nu-si pot apara drepturile. Le-am scris de pe pozitia milioanelor de români cinstiti care cred în adevar, în dreptate si în demnitate. Emil Constantinescu (text preluat din Introducerea cartii).
MINTEA CEA SOCOTITOARE
de academician Mircea Malita, Editura Academiei Române, 2009 În volumul de eseuri Mintea cea socotitoare, aparut la Editura Academiei Române, acad. Mircea Malita formuleaza în crescendo o serie de întrebari grave ale timpului nostru: Daca omul este rational, de ce se fac atâtea greseli în economie
sau în politica?; Daca rationalitatea nu e de ajuns, care ar fi rolul întelepciunii?; Din viitorul imprevizibil putem smulge portiuni, daca nu certe, cel putin probabile?; Ce si cum învatam pregatindu-ne pentru viitorul nostru?; Este în stare omenirea sa îsi vindece crizele?; Ne asteapta oare un dezastru final? s.a. De-a lungul anilor, acad. Mircea Malita a staruit asupra acestor teme în lucrari recunoscute, însa acum o face raportându-se la dinamica realitatii imediate, inspirat de cuvintele lui Dimitrie Cantemir: socoteala mintii mele, lumina dinlauntrul capului. Eseurile sunt structurate pe patru parti - Mintea senina, Metaforele mintii, Mintea învolburata si Privind înainte. Finalul este de un optimism lucid care tine seama de potentialul de rationalitate si imaginatie al mintii umane si, fireste, de generatiile tinere care îl pot valoriza benefic.
Această carte de poezie este seismograful de mare sensibilitate care înregistrează cele două întâlniri ale sufletului, deopotrivă cu URÂTUL care ne schilodește ca ființă, ca neam, dar și cu FRUMUSEȚEA sufletească nepoluată ce stă ca o fântână cu apă curată pe un câmp plin cu peturi și gunoaie nedegradabile. Ce poate fi mai dureros decât să surprinzi această fibră distrusă de aluviunile istorice încărcate de lașități, inerții, apatii, compromisuri devenite congenitale ale românului? Vibrația versurilor, directețea lor, simplitatea dusă până în marginea cotidianului paradoxal n-au efect distructiv asupra tonusului moral al cititorului, ci produc neliniștea cea bună, cum ar spune Sfinții Părinți. Citești în revolta și durerea poetei un mănunchi admirabil de calități: o demnitate neînfrântă, o fiziologie a verticalității și, mai ales, o inimă creștină, o inimă din ceruri, cum ar spune poetul latin. Căci, în această inimă din ceruri, există lacrimi deopotrivă pentru românul umilit, distrus până și-n visele lui, dar și pentru copilul din Gaza, cu sufletul și trupul chircite sub șenilele tancurilor unui război ce tinde să devină mai lung decât viața lui, ale unui război-viață, lacrimi pentru copilul evreu ce nu a putut fi salvat de la deportarea bestială, lacrimi pentru Tibetul sfâșiat. Și toate acestea fără impostura unui ecumenism sentimental, ci izvorâte din acel suspin curat românesc ce face esența lacrimii creștine. (Dan Puric)
ISLAMUL SI SOARTA LUMII - Fundamentalismul islamic ca ideologie politica de Virginia Mircea "Islamul si soarta lumii - Fundamendamentalismul ca ideologie politca invita la o reflectie mai adanca asupra porceselor lumii contemporane. Judecata critica si independenta a autoarei a produs o lucrare de o veritabila investigatie stiintifica, exact la momentul in care tema tratata deseori fara solutii si perspective ocupa scena din fata a politicii si problemelor mondiale. Cititorii o pot aseza cu satisfactie in bliblioteca lor de referinta. Vor fi mult ajutati in intelegerea evenimentelor care ne sesizeaza in prezent si intr-un viitor in care tema nu se va desprinde de mersul lumii contemporane." (academician Mircea Malita)