Just wrote the “politics bite” for the Society for Romanian Studies upcoming newsletter. How can one summarize in under 200 words the political events of the past six months? This way:
Romania survives “black summer” ahead of new parliamentary elections
When several deputies and senators abandoned the Democrat Liberal Party in April a censure motion unseated the cabinet, pushing the Democrat Liberals in the opposition and allowing their rivals to form the government. After consolidating its position through the June local elections, the Social Liberal Union (USL, gathering the Social Democrats and the Liberals) suspended President Traian Basescu through a series of moves that blatantly disregarded democratic spirit and procedure. This further isolated the new Romanian government internationally, after Prime Minister Victor Ponta downplayed having plagiarized his doctoral thesis in law, and his government sought to curtail the powers of the Constitutional Court and asserted control over the judiciary. A popular referendum intended to unseat Basescu failed due to poor voter turnout. As such, Basescu was reinstated, but as a weak president unwanted by record numbers of Romanians. Despite its international isolation, the USL has retained its popularity by partly reversing the austerity measures enacted by the Democrat Liberals. It therefore expects to win the December parliamentary elections, especially because attempts to revamp the political right have proven unfruitful.