June 26, 2013
There is no subtle progress, there is no benevolent authority questioning the purpose and direction of society. It’s just a group of people who now have unlimited access to resources and the mechanism of the state. It’s just a group of people seeking to imbed their authority all across the public sector, in such a manner that any change in the future could not happen without their specific and direct permission.
This is my reading of the current political situation in Romania. The situation is so well managed by those in position of power that little can be understood by someone living outside the country. Under the empire of “the will of the people”, a phrase used to validate whatever legislative measure conceivable, Romania is returning to one of its darkest periods.
Mainstream media is either silent or assertive. The few who do speak up have a limited reach, and their voice is often mocked and ridiculed. Populism is at an all-time high.
A new Constitution is being prepared. One that has allegedly been built on public consultation – public consultation limited in reach, with proposals and conclusions ignored. A spectacle has been made of the process of developing this new Constitution, with MP’s voting on amendments that they had submitted in the first place. No constitutional experts were involved. It was simply a show of this is what we want and this is how we do it. And there is nothing you can do.
Some changes are quite absurd, some are clearly undemocratic and some are just small rivalries between politicians getting solved by modifying the constitution – which is duck hunting with a Patriot missile, but well.
- The President is no longer included in the Executive Brach of power
- The Parliament becomes the supreme authority on anything
- Any citizen is now bound by the Constitution to appear before Parliament if summoned.
- The Parliament is the sole authority that can authorize investigations on members of parliament and government (it used to be an attribute of the president)
- Prime minister to be decided by Parliament not by the President as it used to be
- Dissolving parliament can only be done if 2/3 of MP’s agree on it. (and it is quite a shady text on that actually, allowing for multiple interpretations)
- The only way to have a referendum is to have the parliament vote on it. If there is a majority in Parliament then the referendum receives a green light
- The Senate receives new powers, by now being able to request reports from any type of public authority – moreover, this also implies that the Senate can, with the use of further legislation, control management in any type of public administration.
- The Romanian Constitutional Court can no longer judge if decisions of Parliament respect the Constitution – therefore instituting the dictatorship of Parliament.
- Top judicial court in Romania, consisting of the most experienced and worthy judges and prosecutors lose all jurisdiction on MP’s – previously if was only top Judicial who what jurisdiction on MP’s.
- CSM – Romanian Superior Council of Magistrate ( they govern on the magistrates) sees the mandate of its members shortened to 4 years, so that eventually the elections for the magistrates could be simultaneous with those for MP’s
- Various elements of the Penal Code are now elements of the Constitution, curtailing mostly to the banning of evidence, arrest procedures, etc.
Bear in mind that these are my translations and they might not be perfect, as I am not an expert in the field. LATER UPDATE : The report from expert forum has now been released in english and the link updated. [The report is available via the link on top, but it is in Romanian. When an English version will be available I will link it here.]
The things mentioned above however are a problem. As someone who has dedicated time and resources to study the years between 1947 and 1989, to understand that dictatorship, its causes and consequences, I am afraid that what was once the dictatorship of a privileged portion of society (the communist nomenclature) is returning as the dictatorship of a privileged and allegedly democratically elected parliament. But then again, back in day, a good portion of those in the nomenclature were also democratically elected.
This is why I am a federalist. Because I do not want, today, tomorrow or ever so much power invested in a group of people elected (please do note the lack of democratic) to manage the state. Especially if they believe that once there, they can just crown each other king. And increase the power they hold by justifying every move they make with “it is the will of the people who elected us to this position”. People who seem to have less and less means to questions those they elect into office.
It’s a very dangerous breed of populism and parliamentary dictatorship that is coming to life in Romania. The Constitution has not yet been voted on. But it’s coming. And I fear that after casting my negative vote, I shall have to start packing and decide where to emigrate. Emigrate if I may, cause who knows I might find myself in the miserable position of having to ask the Parliament if I may be excused.