Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowed in!

We are snowed in. Thoroughly! The city is beautiful and I may say even serene despite the desperate attempts of lunatic drivers to stand up to what a particularly generous winter is throwing at this city. Bucharest is a city that is never quite like others and where public services are haphazard and erratic at best of times. These days traffic is such a nightmare that, if reasonable, we are constrained to stroll leisurely through heavy snow. It is difficult, cold, but beautiful and gives you time to reflect without being angered by other equally stressed drivers.

On the political scene the big news is that the court rejected the challenge PSD presented and opened the way for validating the elections. This promptly happened earlier this week. They didn't even bother to discuss the three different issues backed by proof raised by Geoana's party. This despite a growing number of evidence of at least serious questions regarding the electoral process ... Consequently Mircea Geoana did what was the only decent and responsible thing to do: he conceded in order to avoid a further and protracted political scandal while he mentioned the intention to continue the investigation via the means of a special parliamentary commission. As an additional quirk the official results show he actually "won" the election in Romania but he trails the incumbent about 70.000 votes out of 150.000 abroad. Promptly on some "free" blogs the country is now called "strawberryland". This is a pun on the votes of Romanians in Spain and Italy generically called strawberry pickers. Of course this is a meaningless and bitter thing to say. On one hand the Geoana campaign totally missed this political demographic and on the other hand the number of serious flaws in the process make rather questionable their responsibility in the result.

The overall situation is a bit "green" as we say here. The prospects of a stable (and competent) government backed by a large majority are slim. The returning president's party is using any possible mean to dislodge MP's from the socialist and liberal groups in the parliament and this with some success. A bunch of 12 or so deputies and senators have declared they will quit their groups and sit with the "independent" group led by a famous and fairly sinister turncoat general - he left PSD some time ago when he failed to appoint himself minister of interior and promptly joined the "presidential" camp. This way the president's party amassed a majority in both chambers. It is enough for most activity except changing fundamental laws.

We have a new prime-minister designate: the same pathetic communist activist styled guy (except he claims in a terrible wooden tongue his conservative and rightist credo) the parliament deposed three month ago! I have the very bizarre and unpleasant feeling of living in a time loop. A kind of semi-nightmarish groundhog day. For now it seems the government coalition will be the PDL - the president's party - and the Hungarian minority party. The latter are always interested - they have been in government for about 16 of the past 20 years! With parliamentary support from the group of the other ethnic minorities (it is officially called so) and the "independents" group before mentioned. There are high chances the cabinet will pass through parliament and by Christmas we will have a functional government of sorts. We will have to see how the budget looks like in January next year but times will be tough.

Apparently the socialists and the liberals will form the opposition. After a few tough days the party rallied around Geoana and except a few voices known previously to be in both camps there seems to be solidarity with somebody who has put a lot of effort in this last campaign.

Next week Romania celebrates twenty years since its Revolution. Also it commemorates its tragic victims. It is equally tragic to see that former apparatchiks and nomenclatura types mixed with straight out former securitate operatives, all directly linked to the oppressive Ceausescu regime are getting an almost total control over this country.

Christmas is coming and the country is all white. Hanukkah lights are still on. The fight should go on for a good society. Ever since the enlightenment it never ends. The Leviathan is always near and we only live a stalemate.