Saturday, 13 December 2014

Things that seem strange to a foreigner about the Romanian presidential election


Why were the opinion polls in the Romanian election so very wrong, with one exception giving Victor Ponta
the PSD (Social Democratic Party) candidate a very healthy lead throughout? 

I have not heard any convincing explanation. Presumably, people are reluctant to say that they are going to vote against the PSD. I wonder if this is in case this information is used against them in some way. The PSD is the reinvented Communist Party, after all. But are there better explanations?

The one rogue poll was published by CCSCC two days before the vote and showed the candidates exactly equal. It was dismissed by almost everyone because it was a telephone poll from a no-name company. That poll was nowhere near the final result, but it was a lot closer than the rest of the polls.

Why did Gabriela Firea attempt to claim moral superiority for Victor Ponta over Klaus Iohannis just because he didn’t have children? Klaus Iohannis, by the way, is a Protestant who is deeply religious, according to his childhood friends, didn't plagiarise his doctoral thesis and didn't leave his pregnant wife for another woman.

Why were Mircea Geoana and Marian Vanghelie expelled from the PSD, rather than the people who were responsible for losing the election - Victor Ponta, Liviu Dragnea, the campaign organiser, and Adrian Nastase? (Nastase's friends, it is said, did not get out the vote because he wanted to get even with Mr Ponta for allowing him to be sent to gaol the second time.) 

In an old-fashioned Western the baddies always start fighting among themselves at the end of the film. It's like that after the PSD lose elections too. 

As Mircea Geoana said,

I lost the presidential election by a very few votes and I got expelled from the party. This guy lost by a lot of votes and I got expelled from the party again.
Mr. Vanghelie was expelled, even though he commands a faithful following of gypsy voters and is very rich. He is considered (fairly accurately) to be a semi-literate buffoon and could be described as the Romanian gypsy equivalent of Tony Blair's deputy, John Prescott. I am told Mr. Vanghelie was expelled 
because he has a big mouth
and so he certainly has, but this should have been a reason for  keeping him in the team. Instead he has been telling us all sorts of things the PSD doesn't want us to know. (I am sure it is not by chance that evidence of corruption is surfacing in the papers about Mr. Vanghelie exactly now.)

Actually, I know the reason why Messrs. Geoana and Vanghelie were expelled, in very rough terms. It was because they were a danger to Victor Ponta. I am told Mr. Geoana compounded his fault by telling Mr. Ponta after the result was known,

At least I believed I was president for a night.

However Mr Ponta's action makes him look weak, not strong (rather like Harold Macmillan's Night of the Long Knives). And those who live by the sword die by the sword.

People allege that over a million fraudulent votes were cast by 'electoral tourists', people bussed from area to give multiple votes for the PSD candidate. The same thing was said in the election of 2004. I don't, of course, know the truth. Nor does anyone for sure. Why were no investigations made then or now? 

Readers who are not familiar with Romanian politics are, I hope, shocked to learn how the votes are rigged and manipulated here. Even so, what is much more shocking is that Romania is, on the whole, a much freer country than England, even though a less democratic one. Western Europe is becoming less free week by week. Romania will one day, I hope soon, get clean elections. She will never have clean politicians, but she will presumably in time have the same restrictions on freedom that, for example, the British and Dutch have.


  1. You seem still to be captured by the elections. Apropos childless: I think the opposition picked up the issue just for reasons of election warfare. About freedom: which one do you refer too? economic, civil, social, ...? ...I'm making up these categories...but it's just a bit of an individual thing, which freedoms one prefers.
    Christoph R

  2. Freedom is indivisible, as someone said. I have no idea what social, economic or civil freedoms mean. Freedom means freedom from being told by the police or other government body what to do. 'freedom from hunger' or 'freedom to have clean running water' these expressions if they exist would use freedom in another sense of the word.
    Freedoms have to be restricted but they are being very severely restricted these days in Western Europe - especially freedom of speech but all sorts of other freedoms too. Some want to make it illegal to say childless men make bad presidents - this is how unfree things are getting.

    1. I don't need to make it illegal to say childless men make bad presidents. It IS already illegal because it is a form of discrimination which is punishable by law. Would it be OK to say Jewish persons make bad businessmen (which obviously isn't true)? Or to say Roma people live from stealing? (this is what President basescu said and he was found guilty of discriminating; he unsuccessfully appealed the decision and in the end had to pay a 600 lei fine). Would it be OK for me to say "stupid blonde women make bad PSD government spokespersons"? No, it wouldn't. The bottom line is that discrimination is wrong and should be punished.

    2. Freedom and democracy are just some words in dictionaries , reality is different. I agree freedom in West Europe is just a ''fata Morgana mirage'' because of this ''political correctness'' which over exaggerates with stupid rules that restrict people freedom of speech, or action etc. You have to be careful what you are saying and the reality is this, the majority of people are discriminated against by the minority just because of this political correctness and it's stupid rules. So who thinks Western countries have more freedom and are more democratic, think twice. Dix it!

    3. 'Political correctness' is the principal threat to freedom in the world today. It is as great a threat as fascism or communism were in the past. I think the outlook for the EU is very gloomy. The USA which incubated the politically correct virus suffers from it badly but is protected from it to some extent by its wonderful constitution and the First Amendment.

    4. Exactly , an excuse to restrict people freedom and to control them. Why have to be blind not to see something like that

    5. "[S]tupid blonde women make bad PSD government spokespersons".
      I would have thought that clever blonde women would make bad PSD government spokespersons, particularly the ones who run on a PMP ticket. So who is right, your opinion or mine? And whom are we discriminating against? I may see your words as a veiled insult to clever blondes but I would not think for a moment of banning either.

    6. Marc, anonymous above is a friend of mine whose views on anti-discrimination laws and hate speech etc fill me with absolute despair for Europe. And Romania as part of Europe. Goya put it well. The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

  3. "Presumably, people are reluctant to say that they are going to vote against the PSD. This, I can only imagine, is in case this information is used against them in some way." - This is such an absurd speculation, especially when made by somebody living in Romania. How on earth can an answer given during an opinion poll be used against the person who expressed it in Romania A.D. 2014 !? This speculation is really from another world.

    "The PSD is the reinvented Communist Party, after all." - There is a certain lineage between PCR and PSD in terms of attitude towards the state, political rivals, freedoms, a certain common stylistic touch, but this is still worlds away from PCR reloaded.

    "Lucian Dragnea" - Liviu Dragnea

    "People allege that up over a million fraudulent votes were cast by 'electoral tourists', people bussed from area to give multiple votes for the PSD candidate." Absurd again.
    All you need in order to test uncertain infromations is to do a rapid plausibility examination: how many busses you need to move 2-300.000 people to vote 3-4 times each, how come that nobody have seen those 5-6.000 busses, how can you coordinate such a huge action, how come that from 1,1 million voters on the supplementary lists, 1 million were fraudulent votes, is this plausible ?

    "I don't, of course, know the truth." Fair enough.

    "Nor does anyone for sure" - Actually, analyses have been done and it is estimated that some 10% voters from the supplemetary lists were fraudulent, that is some 110-120.000 and not 1 million. If you could read Romanian, you would try - there you could find interesting estimations and maps about the frauds.

    "Why were no investigations made then or now? This is a good question.

    "Readers who are not familiar with Romanian politics are, I hope, shocked to learn how the votes are rigged and manipulated here." By far not that amount of fraud and manipulation as you suggest. Romanians are simply not able to organise big things, be it bad or good: they'll never be able to have your universities nor your concentration camps.

    1. I was told by the AP that the total number of people who voted on supplementary lists was 1.2 million and that 100,000 people on such lists voted in Teleorman alone - I am suspicious of why anyone should visit Teleorman in December.
      Why do you think I do not read Romanian? It would be odd of me not to since I live here. Actually I have no idea why the opinion polls exaggerated the PSD vote. My original formula when I first posted this was to ask readers to advise me. Do you have an explanation?
      Our concentration camps? Are you referring to the ones we British organised in the South African War 1899-1902? I hope you are not blaming us British for the German ones. Our universities are becoming a joke these days.

    2. Political correctness is as big a threat as fascism or communism? Yes, those PC psychopaths are invading other nations, seizing property, and driving helpless minorities into extermination camps. PC is an annoyance and can be managed by people with common sense. Your comparison to fascism is an uneasy combination of lazy and inflammatory.

    3. I said 'as great a threat to freedom' - in the context of a discussion about freedom in England. I stand by what I said.

  4. " Yes, those PC psychopaths are invading other nations"

    See Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. It's the PC regime in DC that's ultimately behind all that. Syria is the murkiest of those examples, but everybody admits that the CIA has been closely involved with the Jihadists fighting Assad since 2011 or 2012. Afghanistan probably merited a short punitive expedition, but not 13 years of whatever it is USG and its vassal states have doing over there.

    1. I agree with you about these terrible wars and thanks for coming to my defence. I think though that this is a separate issue from the restrictions on freedom in the name of non-discrimination. (Both have in common the liberal desire to reorder the world to make it a better place, I suppose, rather than the conservative desire to leave things alone if possible.)

  5. PC people tend to be peace-loving. Many Americans were against the war in Iraq. They were marginalized and mocked by the decidedly un-PC Bush administration.