Monday, December 13, 2004

It's All Happening

Romania's New President:

Traian Basescu

Basescu Ahead in Romanian Presidential Run-off
8:59am (UK), "PA" [The Press Associaton]

"Mayor Traian Basescu was ahead in the Romanian presidential run-off, according to official partial results released today.

Basescu had 51.75% of the vote, to Nastase’s 48.25 based on 92.1% of the vote counted. He was 600,000 votes ahead, the Central Electoral Bureau said.

Basescu’s opposition Justice and Truth Alliance said that Basescu had 51.5% of the vote, compared to Nastase’s 49.5%, according to a parallel count of ballots carried out by the opposition."

If the U.S. 2000 elections taught the world anything, nothing is over till it's over. And which nation would be more likely to have fairer elections: Romania or the U.S.? Tough call on that one, for sure.

After the Nov 28th election, the opposition (Basescu) vehemently accused the government of fraud and manipulation of the results. In all truth, what's happening in Ukraine is no small game, and I don't wish that outcome to any country, especially my own. However, to be totally honest, I did see somewhat of an effort at the Romanian Consulate in NYC to insure the accountability of the electoral process. For example, this time I had to sign a "voting declaration"; it's pretty much a statement indicating my name, address and - most importantly - the fact that I voted in NYC on the respective date. I'm not clear on the effectiveness of these documents in matters of actually comparing the information they contain. However, it's highly possible that if anyone was inclined to vote twice, the simple fact of signing the declaration acted as a deterrent. Some effect is better than none, I guess.

Bottom line: OPPOSITION WON! I'm happy; after 15 years of post-Ceausescu Communist entanglement, I'm truly happy for my country. The urban voters, the middle class, the business men, the intellectuals, the new generation - they finally shifted the electoral demographics. Maybe mentalities can change after all.

What's to be expected? In a nutshell:
- some curtailing of corruption
- legal restructuring
- strenuous efforts to push for the 2007 EU adherence
- better taxation for private companies

Out of the endless hole of populism, Romania is finally stepping into the right direction. It's quite new territory; if it will be able to adapt - that remains to be seen.


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