Monday, November 29, 2004

To Vote or Not To Vote



Today I voted at the Romanian Consulate in New York, thus contributing to the 57% turnout in Romania's first round of general elections since 2000. It's hard to explain to your American friends the choice between a moderate liberal, a socio-democrat (with communist ties) and an altogether communist presidential candidate. Not that there was much of a choice for me - I don't like the communists (dah!) and I haven't received any overnight retirement money from the current leadership to make me overlook corruption, nepotism and unfair competition (to name but a few.)

The truth is, Romania doesn't have much of a right wing, and the "Alliance" ("Alianta DA", a.k.a. "The Justice and Truth Alliance"), as much as they like to claim the center-right, are at most on the center-left. The real right, the Christian-Democratic Party, has at best 5% political supporters. It's hard to advocate conservatism in a country thirsty for change; it's even harder to promote capitalism when a considerable majority of voters rejoice in insignificant increases in retirement pensions.

All in all, we will have new presidential elections. Even if the current governing party, PSD, won by a margin of 7-8%, they weren't close to passing the 50% needed for a definite win in the first round of elections. That said, on December 12th we'll witness "Elections in Romania - Part II."

One thing made me happy - the Romanians in New York were waiting in a pretty long line to vote. At least they care more about it this time. Last time I went to vote in New York on Romania's Constitutional reform (79 amendments!!), it was just me and a bunch of consulate officials offering me cookies on my way out of the electoral booth.

I feel that my civic duty is complete. If only others got off their asses on December 12th and took the respectable walk to the nearest voting section.

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