Romanian politicians don’t do resignations. When, a few years back, one of their previous Ministers who had migrated to Brussels as a Euro MP was one of three Euro MPs to be caught in a sting, the other two quickly resigned but not Adrian Severin…..When Victor Ponta became Romania’s Prime Minister some 3 years ago, he was almost immediately discovered by a global scientific journal to have committed extensive plagiarism for his PhD. He shrugged that off – although it had immediately led to resignations of German and other national Ministers guilty of such transgressions. But not in Romania…..Even being indicted a few months ago by the country’s powerful anti-corruption brigade (DNA) didn’t seem to rattle him – only one of the charges would have been liable to remove him.
But Ponta duly went (pushed it appears) this week as public anger at political shamelessness reached boiling point - first from the death of a police outrider escorting a the Ministry of Interior’s car which had no right for such protection but then, at the weekend, from almost 50 deaths in a night-club which, like all such places in the country, had absolutely no fire or safety precautions…… The “Sarah in Romania” blog can always be relied upon for a caustic comment on such matters – and her latest comment doesn’t disappoint..….
This time their seems some focus for policy change to the anger….the country now has a President who has used at least the language of radical change (although the jury must remain out on whether he has the capacity to deliver); and the street protests which were normally led by a party political element look this time to have a slightly more hopeful base in the citizens……but so-called “civil society” (about which one does not hear so much these days) has never really taken off in Romania – despite the extensive funding it got from external sources…..
I had a little soiree at my flat in Sofia this evening (coincidentally the night the Brits celebrate the night of Guy Fawkes’ failure to blow up Parliament in 1605!) at which I discovered that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church enjoys no such advantages here….Why the difference, I wonder – although the two neighbouring countries – as I’ve frequently noted in the blog - are SO different (in all respects) that I shouldn’t have been surprised….