Well if you’ve been paying even the slightest attention to the news (about Romania) then you know the government has “fallen”. Even my old nemesis The Economist couldn’t help chortling about governments that last “like mayflies” since the PDL/UDMR Superstar Cabinet of Ministers™ only lasted just under 3 months.
Everyone in the foreign press has been saying that this has to do with “austerity measures” and a backlash against them, just like in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. Well I have no idea what’s going on in Prague or the rest of the world but I’ve had a few foreigners here ask me what the consequences of this no-confidence vote and “falling” of the government here in Romania are. The short answer is: not a goddamn thing, really.
Yes, it looks almost certain that Victor “Skeletor” Ponta will be nominated for (and subsequently be confirmed as) the new Prime Minister and that he and Crin “Crazy Eyes” Antonescu will choose their own cronies for all of the cabinet positions. It’s also true that national elections are scheduled for later this year (right now November but the Hungarians are pushing for September) so essentially Skeletor and his merry band of pirates will be running things for a few months over the summer. Then we’ll see exactly what happens when the people get a chance to have their say. What happened yesterday wasn’t some people’s backlash against austerity, it was that the Skeletor and his minions barely squeaked out a no-confidence motion (235 out of 460 total possible votes) and now he’s acting like he’s riding a wave of popularity.
Public confidence in politicians, regardless of party, is about zero. The same old cretinous band of corrupt bastards have been playing musical chairs, jumping from party to party or alliance to alliance and all blaming each other and making outrageous accusations and it’s all quite good theater or soap opera material but when it comes down to how it affects the average person on the street it doesn’t add up to a fart in a tornado.
Personally I think that they lock all of these politicians into a large house (there’s one that Ceausescu built that’s handily right in Bucharest), wire it up with cameras and turn it into a reality show Big Brother style. That way they can continue with their crazy antics but aren’t, you know, actually in danger of trying to “govern”.
Except for the fact that Skeletor has a dangerously sick obsession with my girl Roberta Anastase, I don’t look for much to change over the summer. Earlier last week I saw poor old Claudia Boghicevici first try to drum up enthusiasm that government salaries could be returned to their old levels but then the next day had to explain with a long face that due to shenanigans with the pensions that it just wasn’t going to happen. What’s really going on is that the wolves of the EBRD, IMF, European Union and other foreign investors (and let’s not forget Daddy Mark’s strike force) are circling the sheep in Romania and picking them off one by one. Yeah they screwed up earlier with Cupru Min but they are relentless and there’s simply no one left in the government to fend them off for long.
Skeletor talks the populist line about how the “country isn’t for sale” but he is deeply in bed with several Romanian “barons” and he’d sell his grandma for another luxury junket in Dubai. With the rhetoric (in Romanian they call it “verbal violence”, a far better term) so high and feelings and acrimony so strong, I doubt there will be anything accomplished in the near future of any note. Only Basescu (oddly enough, considering where he was 4-5 years ago) is looking anything like a leader in terms of composure and gravitas but when Daddy Mark says jump, Basescu jumps, so there won’t be much aid from his quarter.
Quite frankly, one of two things is likely to happen in the near future. Either a small reactionary “nationalist” party is going to arise out of the fringe and gain a scary and terrifying momentum, riding on the coattails of populist anger against both corruption as well as never-ending debt to international bankers OR Romania will continue to destabilize, falling apart from the center outwards, leading to an ever increasing expansion in hordes of religious missionaries and Wise Old Elves from the EU and foreign investor sharks until all that’s left are peasants in the fields and the sick and elderly in the decaying cities while every able-bodied and independent Romanian is studying or at work somewhere else, anywhere else but the land of their birth. Foreigners will run the trains and the mines and the worthless Romanian people will do the drudge work for the fiscally savvy and superior Germans (and others), just like the original plan called for.
Enjoy the sunshine, folks! :)