Another plan plotted by the President reached a deadlock yesterday and turned to dust in the Parliament of Romania, where his presidential party, accompanied by the PLD (Liberal-Democrat Party) and together with Geoana's wing in the PSD (Social-Democrat Party), had just managed to establish majority. The organic law voted yesterday forbids the President to arrange a referendum to take place at the same time with the local or parliamentary elections. This is a commentary on the defeat Traian Basescu suffered yesterday, because it is not just one failure among others, but the start of a disaster, if we consider the highly important political consequences of the most recent parliamentary decision.
Politicians together with the press and the other components of civil society have lately been taking real interest in the various versions of the uninominal vote law. The possibility to achieve an intensified reform of Romanian politics lies ahead of this vote system. It may be achieved due to substantial changes in the behaviour and structure of parties. It will be illusionary to think that the adoption of the uninominal vote system, according to which people matter more than the lists drawn by parties, could have positive effects on the elections due next autumn. On the contrary, haste may turn this important political project, which all parties embraced before Traian Basescu got to pretend to author it, into real remarkable failure. If politicians were elected on grounds of a uninominal mechanism starting with tomorrow, parties would find it impossible to proceed to prestidigitation and simply invent new people, different from those in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, people to guarantee a more efficient, more modern and cleaner Parliament. How could parties produce such people in just a few months? Parties should make such people, especially in their youth branches.
Therefore the 2012 election would be a prospect more realistic than the 2008 ones. Except for the PD (Democrat Party), an expert in presidential karaoke, all the parties are aware of this now. But neither the President nor the PD is interested in the contents, in the real substance of the uninominal vote. They only care about the momentary propaganda and electoral effects of an action such as taking over this initiative. It is not the denouement that matters to Traian Basescu, in fact. He is pursuing the exceptional opportunity to make propaganda for his credibility and for the PD's credibility, although a President, and get no sanction because of the Constitution. The referendum is the vehicle to be used. Could he decide to hold a referendum, he could speak freely, claiming he informs people about it at times when the electoral campaign is progressing. It is the very reason why the President has announced his firm intention to have the referendum take place at the same time with early elections.
The government, assailed from all sides, is trying to counter this move. Government members have insinuated that, in order to avoid a referendum, they are ready to take responsibility for a uninominal vote law to be applied starting with 2012. Seemingly, it is one more opportunity to overthrow the government. Parties would have all reasons to vote for the latter version and the government would thus go the safe way. The government would be wrong not to take responsibility for the law and the other way around: the government would be right to take responsibility for it. And hence the defeat the President suffered yesterday may make room for one more defeat the coming days.
And the scandal on the political prosecutors has been intensifying. The National Anti-Corruption Department has lost its credibility because of wasting too much fuel on political abuses. The other department in the Prosecutor's Office has lost credibility too. Traian Basescu's two political weapons are running out of bullets.