Protests in romania: “justice not corruption!”

Tens of thousands are once again taking to the streets across the country. Criticism is directed not only at the government, but also at the opposition.

Demonstrators on Saturday in front of the parliament building in Bucharest Photo: ap

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in several major Romanian cities on Saturday against the Bucharest government and the new Prime Minister Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, who was appointed just early last week. In addition to dusty slogans such as "Down with the communists!" participants chanted "PSD, the red plague!", "Down with the government!" or "Justice instead of corruption!"

President Klaus Johannis had agreed to the proposal of the coalition parties, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Liberal Democratic Alliance (ALDE), to recognize Dăncilă as the new head of government in place of the resigned Prime Minister Mihai Tudose. Tudose is the second prime minister to be forced to resign after an open conflict with PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.

Dragnea is a scheming string-puller who runs his party in the manner of a lord of the manor and punishes the slightest deviation from his guidelines. Insubordination is punished immediately. Critics claim that the judicial reform plans drawn up by the PSD are intended to protect politicians suspected of corruption from criminal prosecution.

The judiciary is also targeting PSD leader Dragnea, who has a criminal record. In the eyes of the protesters, who have repeatedly taken to the streets in recent months, he is at the head of a mafia-like secret society of corrupt oligarchs who control the country’s destiny.

One-sided picture

This one-sided picture is also painted by representatives of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) or the People’s Movement Party (PMP) led by former President Traian Băsescu. The fact that the number of people suspected of corruption who are close to these parties is no smaller than that of the ruling PSD-ALDE coalition is also expressed in the system-critical goal of the protesters.

Basically, the protesters have all parties in their sights. They lack a realpolitik alternative as well as a clear ideological orientation. On Saturday, isolated voices called for new elections, something that representatives of the opposition had already demanded and ignored the results of the latest polls in their urge to finally come to power.

Slogans of the demonstrators

"PSD, the red plague! Down with the government!"

If early elections were held now, the ruling Social Democrats would receive 42 percent of the vote. That would be 3 percent less than in the 2016 parliamentary elections. 9 percent would vote for their coalition partner ALDE, compared with 6 percent in 2016.

The opposition National Liberal Party PNL would receive 27 percent, significantly more than two years ago. The Association Save Romania (USR), which was presented as a civil society savior and made it into parliament in 2016 with 9 percent, is now at only 5 percent.