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The Death of the PSD

The text below was initially written as a response to an email. I was asked whether a newcomer to Romania could manage life here given the ongoing political and economic downturn.

Let's make one thing clear. What is happening in Romania now stems from decades of unchecked corruption and the mass embezzlement of state funds orchestrated by an organized crime syndicate. The PSD is by far the main culprit in the scheme, but Romania's political and bureaucratic class at large have consistently played a role.

This would be a very pessimistic post if it weren't for the fact that "the owner has noticed".

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There is a significant chance the PSD will just disappear some day. Maybe not with the next election cycle in 2020, but I'd be surprised if they continue to exist, or to field any candidates, after 2025. If it isn't a sudden defeat (a black swan event), they will die the slow death of irrelevance, as is the case with all systems people can no longer abide.

Which is why I'm making this prediction.

It has become obvious that even the typical PSD voter is becoming disillusioned by this disgrace of governance. Aside from doing everything in their power to undermine the relevance of a politically independent judiciary, the PSDs only 'achievement' this mandate was to render worthless the promised pension and public service salary increases through a series of destructive (ill advised, ignorant, blatantly stupid) macro-economic policies. While their particular voter base doesn't care much for the nuances of the economy, everybody can understand the value of a Leu and feel the effects of its decreasing value. And, if the PSD can no longer deliver on the sole reason these people even come out on election day, what is there left to vote for?

Meanwhile, the people who've been quietly grumbling but apolitical for decades - the middle and upper classes, those in urban areas, small business owners, the disillusioned youth - have begun to turn their grumbling into action. Tens of thousands of people who wouldn't get near politics a few years ago are now card carrying members of the new USR and PLUS parties. These people are now willing to engage with run of the mill political issues. Since moving to Romania, I've never seen a government's moves monitored so closely by so many people. It's no longer the tabloid style scandals that have people talking, more Romanians are now paying attention to the legislation going through parliament, to the way in which it's done, to the people involved. They are engaging and organizing with others; it's a true (re)birth of Romanian civil society.

From the Wikipedia entry on the upcoming elections

I can't say for sure that there is enough of a critical mass to achieve a parliamentary majority against future PSD coalitions, but there is absolutely no way the PSD will get a majority again. Too many people are watching now. More to the point, Romanians finally understand why parliamentary elections are much more important than presidential elections, which is why so many people who previously stayed at home because, 'screw politics', will be going to vote en masse to kick them out in 2020.

With all of that said, I'd be wary of political speculation of any kind. More often than not these predictions can be entirely wrong.

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Edit: I was directed to this article (in Romanian) posted yesterday (6.2.19) in which a former PSD vice-president speaks about the party's inevitable dissolution. So here is one other point...
While the PSD is likely to disappear entirely, 'PeSeDisti' won't disappear overnight. As the article mentions, many will be making their way over to former the PSD Prime Minister's Victor Ponta's new party. It is shocking how Victor Ponta, who lauded China's 'great communist party' and who also had an corruption amnesty initiative in the works during his mandate, is considerably more palatable than Dragnea. Anyway, I wanted to add this to say that even with more engagement from the average, well-meaning Romanian, and an eventual dissolution of the PSD, the monsters are always lurking in the shadows.






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