January 07, 2004

Romanian Politics

Donald Sensing's getting a bum steer on Romanian politics in a larger post on democracy in the UN. He wrongly categorized Romania as a sort of halfway democracy that's really run by the former apparatchiks. I posted the following in comments:

I can't believe I'm saying this but in defense of Romania's apparatchiks they got their tails thrown out of power in 1996 and left peacefully. The major segments of the coalition government that was formed was elected on the basis of something called "The Contract with Romania". They had a program and promised to pass it in 200 days or resign.

They didn't get it passed and didn't resign. In any democracy on earth what do you think would happen? They got slaughtered in the next election (2000). It was "read my lips" times 10.

The only choices left were the hungarian nationalists, the romanian nationalists and the apparatchiks. The public voted for the crooks, not the kooks (shades of the Duke v Edwards gubernatorial election) and the crooks mandate will expire in 2004. Nobody serious thinks that the apparatchiks would undemocratically resist being voted out this time either though it's hard to see who's going to pull it off.

Romania is probably twice as corrupt as NYC or Chicago municipal politics and little bribes and political influence go a long way but undemocratic? That's pushing things a bit far. They deserve full notes.

Frankly, my sympathies are entirely against the neocommunists. I think they're the wrong road for Romania. But they've improved and they're no longer a violence prone faction that could possibly take the country back to dictatorship.

Now they're more like the classic Tammany Hall corrupt political machine. That's not exactly good, but it's certainly an improvement and it is democratic. As time goes on, somebody over there is going to fully absorb the idea that you can get lasting government control by being honest and devolving power and things will become even better. May it come soon.

Posted by TMLutas at January 7, 2004 12:10 AM