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The King’s speech throws less than regal light on local politics

One of October’s main political events was, undoubtedly, the national council of the Social Democrat Party (PSD)

November 2011 - From the Print Edition

But what drew the public’s attention during the congress was a statement made not by a PSD member, but by Crin Antonescu, the leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL) who said: “I know for sure that we will win the elections and I know what the name of the future Prime Minister will be: Victor Ponta.”
It is an assertion that can be interpreted in several ways, depending on what side of the political fence one is located.
One could understand from this statement that the officials of the Social Liberal Union (USL) already see themselves as winners and have already started to share out the power, even before the election date has been decided.
But the statement could also be interpreted in a positive way, as one made between two partners who trust each other. And the fact that one of them has the power to position the other one in a very important role, for both the country and the party to which he belongs, finally shows that Romanian politics has matured. If not nearly enough. We still have fresh in our memory statements made by other politicians, sometimes even accompanied by tears, that proved bogus.
But, in 2011, is there room for bogus statements? There shouldn’t be, and this is backed up by another comment by the same Crin Antonescu, who said to his USL partners, “Dear friends, we will beat them, but the burden will start after (the elections).”
Finally, someone from a coalition – which assuming there is no shock result at the elections, will likely be successful – knows that the goal is not merely to win the elections, but also to bear the burden of the following period and to overcome the current crisis that we are in, a crisis brought about also by external events.
But if we set these statements alongside what is perhaps the most important speech in Parliament in the last 20 years – namely the one to celebrate the 90th birthday of King Mihai – we come quickly back down to earth and begin to ask ourselves questions about the level of the current Romanian political scene.
We compare a speech full of dignity and uprightness with the statements of current politicians. It reminds us who represents us on an international level, when the current head of state, asked what message he would send regarding King Mihai’s celebration, says only: “A message to say what?”
Perhaps the President’s reaction makes us smile, reminding us of his sense of humor. But the comment wasn’t appropriate. Nor was Basescu’s absence in Parliament and the gala event that followed, which was attended by important figures from the great European powers. I could not help but notice that even former President Ion Iliescu, who unquestionably was a close friend of the East, wanted to share a few words with the Queen of Spain.
I’m not saying that they could discuss the current economic problems, but every opportunity should be seized, especially in the economic and political interests of the country. Surely there were foreign officials asking themselves why the most important people in the state at this time were missing from such an event. It was perhaps a rare opportunity to show that our political class is finally mature and we should really be taken seriously by European powers. But it seems that that time has not yet arrived…

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