STRATFOR, „A Disputed Election and December Unrest”

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ROMANIA: A Disputed Election and December Unrest

December 7, 2009 | 1902 GMT
Incumbent Romanian President Traian Basescu addresses supporters on Dec. 6 in Bucharest

Official results for the Dec. 6 election show incumbent Romanian President Traian Basescu defeating opposition leader Mircea Geoana in the country’s run-off election, with Geoana alleging voter fraud. Though political turmoil is nothing new for Romania, the sharp economic downturn makes domestic unrest an increased possibility.


Incumbent Romanian President Traian Basescu won the runoff election for the presidency, defeating Social Democratic Party (PSD) challenger and former Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent, according to the results released Dec. 7 by Romania’s Central Election OStffice. Geoana claimed victory Dec. 6 after exit polls showed him narrowly beating Basescu, and Geoana has refused to accept the official results, alleging voter fraud.

Uncertainty over the election could lead to potential unrest in Romania, particularly as the country grapples with the effects of a sharp economic downturn and the politically contentious anniversary marking the fall of communist rule.

Power in Bucharest is shared by the president and prime minister. However, Romania’s government collapsed Oct. 1 after nine PSD ministers resigned from the Cabinet, leaving Prime Minister Emil Boc and his Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) without enough support in the parliament to govern. Many saw this as a pre-election maneuver by Geoana to put Basescu — who is formally independent but supported by the PDL — into a difficult spot.

The upcoming crisis over the presidential elections will undoubtedly delay the appointment of the new government and prime minister. Prior to the presidential election, there was a consensus in the parliament among the opposition parties that the mayor of Sibiu, Klaus Johannis, should become prime minister. Johannis is seen as an independent because he is unaffiliated with any large party, being the leader of a very small party, the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. But with Basescu claiming victory, it is unlikely that the opposition parties will be able to convince him to accept their candidate as the prime minister.

The delay in forming a government comes at a bad time for Romania. Political uncertainty surrounding the government has led to the blocking of the 20 billion euro standby loan from the International Monetary Fund. The economy, which grew at 6.2 percent in 2008 — the fastest gross domestic product (GDP) growth in all of the European Union — is forecast to decline by 8.5 percent in 2009. Furthermore, the European Union has already threatened to block EU funds to Romania for past corruption, and hints of a fraudulent election could lead to a renewed call for such action in Brussels.

Romania with Bucharest, Timisoara and Sibiu

Aside from the economic problems, there is considerable social angst in Romania. Prior to the runoff election, a number of supposedly spontaneous protests erupted on Dec. 1 in Timisoara. While the protests were apparently “anti-communist,” demonstrators were seen ripping up Geoana posters. Geoana’s supporters have claimed that the protests were orchestrated by Basescu’s camp to connect Geoana and his center-left PSD with communist rule in Romania.

Increased unrest is highly possible. The recession, coupled with a high degree of economic uncertainty, is likely to provide motivation for many to take to the streets. Furthermore, events marking the 20th anniversary of the Romanian anti-communist revolution will begin on Dec. 16 and will offer an opportunity for anti-Basescu parties to coalesce, echoing the way that the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet occupation spurred anti-government rioting in Budapest in October 2006.

This will be a welcome sight in Moscow, as Basescu is considered as a serious thorn in Russia’s side. His support for an anti-communist revolution in neighboring Moldova and staunch support of the United States have made him the Kremlin’s main enemy in the Balkans. Basescu will undoubtedly use this fact to present himself as the only legitimate political heir of the anti-communist struggle in Romania. The conflict between Basescu and Geoana, grafted onto the coming anniversary of the anti-communist uprising, could provide for a very combustible December in Romania.

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7 Responses to STRATFOR, „A Disputed Election and December Unrest”

  1. amanda13 spune:

    sper din toata inima ca PSD nu se pregateste temeinic de asta. desi prea se leaga… Stratfor asta era pomenit si ieri de AP pe toate site-urile mai importante de stiri de aici. Am scris si pe blog despre asta…

    Nu m-as mira ca aceste „informatii de culise” sa fie de fapt netezirea terenului in fata strainatatii.

  2. Riddick spune:

    Aoleu, de-abia îi aştept… 😉

  3. dayana spune:

    Daca acesta este un plan de actiune, inseamna ca nimic nu este intamplator, si tot ce s-a vorbit si scris in aceasta campanie a fost menit sa duca la un asemenea rezultat strans. Acesta este planul B pentru PSD, in cazul in care Basescu castiga alegerile sau este vorba de un alt plan mai mare ce include planul B? Pentru a se putea pune in aplicare planul respectiv s-a creat oare acea coalitie nefiresc de mare impotriva unui om si a unui partid? In cazul acesta este vorba de tradare? S-au pus cam multe resurse la bataie si au intrat in acest joc oameni ce puteau sa stea deoparte. Daca planul de la inceputul anilor nouazeci a esuat, il pot pune in aplicare acum, pe motive de frauda electorala? Cum se pot demonstra fraudele retroactiv? In favoarea cui au fost facute si de catre cine?

    Cred totusi ca nu ar trebui sa ne-ngrijoram, sa avem rabdare sa se solutioneze, sa speram ca cei indreptatiti sa renumere si sa analizeze fac lucrul acesta in mod responsabil si nu deturneaza cu buna stiinta rezultatul alegerilor. Doamne ajuta si fereste aceasta tara de nevolnicie si tradare.

  4. theo spune:

    azi geoanä a iesit ca un nebun, el contestä , el m,erge la cedo, etc.

    psd-istii sunt la fel de turbati, acesti sunt oamenii care nu vor democratia, si nu o vor acepta niciodatä.

  5. monica spune:

    Hai ca s-a terminat. Iti doresc vacanta placuta,sarbatori fericite si sa traim bine!
    I-am ciuruit!

  6. amanda13 spune:

    Alexandre, felicitari si iti doresc numai bine, sarbatori fericite si multa, multa odihna! Ne vedem dupa… 🙂

    p.s. Roxania se pare ca si-a dat bloguitul sfarsit cerand demisia lui Crin si admitand victoria lui Traian, lol

  7. dayana spune:

    Multumesc, Alexandru pentru acest blog. A fost ca un fel de refugiu la care alergam cand altii ma dezamageau. Vreau sa te-ntreb: in ce an ai terminat liceul german?
    Iti doresc mult succes. Bucura-te de libertate, ca au fost momente in campania asta cand am crezut ca „ne-am luat portia de libertate” si gata…
    Sarbatori fericite!

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