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This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A pantomime which requires a boycott

With just over 2 weeks to the referendum on the future of the Romanian President, there is utter confusion on the rules which will decide its outcome. Simple majority of those voting (as parliament decided last week); majority of those entitled to vote (as it has been for a few years); or a requirement that a valid vote requires at least 50% turnout (the condition placed yesterday by the Constitutional Court. The ULR government has promised to hold an emergency session of Parliament to enact the latter condition and end the constitutional crisis which currently exists. And that was enough to call off the American Ambassador’s criticisms. Although Basescu is very unpopular (with only about 15% public support), this might just be enough to save him – since a lot of people are on holiday in late July (although they are able to vote anywhere in Romania).
However, this being Romania, people could interpret the situation in very different ways. As one of my compatriot’s blogposts puts it 
Some of today's papers say Victor Ponta will not respect the ruling, others are unclear. All is confusion. In theory we could have Mr. Băsescu losing the referendum with a turnout of below 50%, he and the Constitutional Court claiming he is president and the temporary incumbent claiming he is acting president - a situation like the Anti-Popes who waged war on one another in the Middle Ages or the three false Dimitris who bedevilled Polish history or the various people who claimed to be Louis XVII. 
Basescu is actually hinting at a boycott - "people should not be part of this dishonesty" - but the above scenario would bring the country to its knees. In a previous post I myself suggested that voters should spoil their papers - this perhaps remains the best option. People do need to vote to ensure this nonsense is ended - and, if a significant number of the votes were disqualified because of a "plague on the political class" scrawl, this would at least send a message that voter patience is wearing thin. Bear in mind that November sees parliamentary elections - and there is a far-right party waiting in the wings which could make all this look like a minor tiff!
At least it seems that the European Parliament people are taking a hard line with the Romanian government – the chairman of the European Parliament has spoken out;  and the leader of the conservative group (EPP) actually refused to meet with Ponta on the latter's visit to Brussels. And others are ostracising Ponta - as this highly symbolic picture shows

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