Union for Reconstruction of Romania - URR
Uniunea pentru Reconstrucția României - URR
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Closed: 31.12.2004
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Thursday, 18 Iulie 2002


"Thank You, Now Leave!"

This is the slogan that brought, in the Czech Republic, hundreds of thousands of people discontent with the political class in the streets. Will URR manage to do the same thing?

A new political party appeared. Due to the support of a central national daily, the newly created union for the Reconstruction of Romania (URR) raised some interest, being generally welcomed with sympathy. The perspective that a new political formation made of competent, clean young people, unrelated to the establishment, join the political stage incited a lot of people. As it raised skepticism too. The Romanian electorate is in the phase of non-incitement, after it invested too much hope in thins that subsequently turned into embarrassing illusions. The outwardness of URR to the current political system presents great advantages, but also greater disadvantages. The polls show the impressive discontent of the electorate towards the political actors of the moment, who are accused with corruption, incompetence and lack of interest to the population's real agenda. According to the Barometer of Public Opinion recently achieved by IMAS, 82% of the population don't trust the political parties, 50% of the electors affirm there is no party on the political stage that represent their interests, 90% of the subjects think the parties show interest in the people's opinions only when elections take place and 81% think the parties serve especially their leaders' interests. And according to the latest poll Metro Media Transilvania, the parliamentarians and the rulers are on the third place, respectively fourth, in the category of occupations perceived by the population as corrupted. Theoretically, all this favor the success of the new political formations, which could tempt the discontent, the undetermined and the people absenting themselves from the vote and which might attract the anti-system votes that risk directing themselves towards PRM (Greater Romania Party). But in real Romania this is very unlikely to happen. And this is because the Romanian politics is made with clientele-like access to resources and key-positions. For the political and administrative practice respects perverted well-rooted rules, which have nothing to do to the candid imagination of the ones outside the system. For notoriety count more than competence. For people vote in a greater measure images rather than programs. For the electorate's availability to credit "liberal" formations is reduced. And so on. URR has in its top a few nice young people inspiring trust and educated; it has a statute and a sublime program; it looks like it knows things as for the art of public communication. But all this could count too little. PAR/UFD was looking equally sublimely, which was welcomed with an incomparably bigger wave of sympathy and failed lamentably. It is true that URR has now a little more space of maneuver at center-right, after CDR (Romanian Democratic Convention) disappeared, after PNTCD (Christian and Democratic National Peasant Party) was buried and given that PNL (National Liberal Party) finds with more and more difficulty its way. Yet, the segment of electorate for which URR will fight is reduced and the new party will have the same problems of message with the congeneric parties in obtaining a mass support. Then, for a really effective political activity a charismatic leader is needed, as well as good institutional connections, relationships with the strong business circles, a good knowledge of the real institutional practices - that is, as many things URR is, for instant, deprived of. And even if all these things were solved, the current political system is still difficult to shake. PAR/UFD had sympathizers everywhere, was enjoying the support of important businessmen, had in its top a leader with charm and yet, the party could never gather more than a few percentages.

However, in order to conclude in an optimistic tone, let us say the eastern-European experience shows the success of novelty is not excluded. The most spectacular cases are in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, where the elections were won, a little time ago, by outsiders - Voislav Kostunita and King Simeon II. But in these cases, the leaders draw with them the parties) otherwise unprepared to rule, being formed of music and sport stars and technocrats without political experience). In Slovakia, novelty took a wrong form, in a character resembling a little Meciar - Roberto Fico, a populist with a spectacular ascension in the perspective of the elections at the end of the year. Hungary is already in the phase of disillusion towards the idea of novelty, after it bet on the young Viktor Orban, that the rule transformed into an arrogant and exotic politician. In Poland a happy case exists: in the elections last year, a Liberal party, run by the businessman Andrzej Olechowski, took the second place. Finally, in the Czech Republic the issue of novelty was the most acutely raised, after the political life was confiscated for a decade by the two system parties - Vaclav Klaus' Democratic Civic Party and the Social-Democratic Party of Milos Zeman. The Christian-Democrats and the center adepts separated from Klaus' party managed to reinvent themselves and embody novelty, joining power after the recent elections, together with the social-democrats, who, in their turn, appealed to a new figure - Vladimir Spidla, who became Premier. More significantly, the desire of novelty inspired a strong civic movement in the Czech Republic. In the years 1999-2001, the movement united under the slogan "Thank you, now leave!" resulted in the most important popular manifestations since the velvet revolution. This would probably the most proper model for URR, which doesn't seem to be willing to follow an orthodox political career. The extent to which the Romanian young politicians will be able to coagulate an anti-establishment civic movement will qualify or disqualify URR for the next elections.

Adrian Cioflanca

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