Yes, in Romania we had elections in December 2012. Yes, the “strange alliance” named USL won with a score of 60%, reuniting “left” (Social-Democrats) with “right” (National-Liberals). They are now alone to govern Romania as they will, and this seems to be their main problem.
The winner politicians are now over-communicating, the Ministries and various second level politicians having public initiatives, which are rapidly sanctioned by Prime Minister or own party’s leaders. Such lack of coordination is unusual and don’t offer any hope for a good 2013 year.
President Traian Basescu remains the main enemy for their sponsor, Dan Voiculescu, but the President did not react lately as he wished. In these conditions, the fight moved inside the winning parties for favors and local power.
Few words about Dan Voiculescu, one of the richest men in Romania:
• He owns a media trust including several TV stations, radios and newspapers;
• He is accused to be the treasurer of former secret services (Securitate – in communist era) and in 1990 he self-attributed the money of this service;
• When he was officially proved to be secret services officer of Ceausescu’s services by National Council of Securitate’s Archive Study, he managed to stop the investigation and change all institution’s staff, although he recognized later that he was an active officer;
• Now he is no more his own created party president, but he was elected as Senator.
Unfortunately we are spectators to a long fight of two people, Traian Basescu and Dan Voiculescu, which started in December of 2004 by the words: "I have chosen the immoral solution" as stated by Basescu regarding the alliance with Voiculescu’s party. At that time, Basescu won the power, but obtained a fierce enemy. During last few years, Romania’s destiny was subordinated to this continuous and irrational personal fight between these two persons and we are paying all for this.
But we have also some good news here, discussing about flourishing stuff:
• The number of Parliament members rise lately from 471 to 588, due to strange elections law. Of course they will need more staff, more space, thus more expenses and so on.
• Even the Prime Minister is the same (Victor Ponta - nominated in April 2012) the number of Ministries increased from 17 to 27 due to strange reasons such as "we need to have responsible people in the Government" (as he should nominate irresponsible people in Ministries). Same expenses increase as for parliament members.
• The number of state secretaries and counselors for Ministries remains an enigma for members of the Government. This is a question that should not be asked, because the Prime Minister declared that the number of these functions will be reduced by 50%. But if he cannot obtain the number, the situation remains unclear.
• All taxes and excises for 2013 is rising because these are calculated in relation to Euro, as requested by law, and the reference rate is, of course, the rate from the first working day in October of each year. Strange thing, in that day, the exchange rate reaches a maximum. In 1st of October 2012 it was 4.5223 lei/euro. Now the exchange rate is 4.3814 lei/euro, no matter what your expectations are.
• Another (can I call it strange again, or you had enough of this?) law forced the local authorities to increase local taxes according last three-year inflation rate. This is 16%, not neglectable. The Prime Minister decided that for 2013 every local authority can have own opinion, to increase taxes or not. What should we do? E.g. I have already received notifications from some authorities for the amount that I must pay, other still not decided. I am not decided either: to pay or not the taxes?
• Energy prices rise since end of 2012 by 5-10% for natural gas and 11% for electricity. Not surprising, but an astonishing declaration of the representative of state-owned hydro-electricity producer (in insolvency - but still the biggest) occurs, who said that "this is fair approach for energy producers".
• The banks will make more profits here, as Unicredit Bank’s analysts published a report which says that in next period the banks profits will be higher in Eastern Europe, which is not at all surprising, having in mind the financial difficulties for most of the population and high interest rates.
I think that I don’t need to mention that all promises from electoral campaign were quickly forgotten by new-elected leaders (who are same people as in previous Parliament) and their only purpose now is to split the budget in most favorable way for their companions.
Now we are waiting for IMF visit to approve the secret budget (yes, this is not public, for strange reasons). I am not sure that the IMF experts know what they want, after the last analysis they conducted on own policies (you can find here their doubts about austerity and consumption: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2013/wp1301.pdf) .
Benefiting of the relief of living in an odd country, the wise way for us is pray to have a short and not very cold winter (for us means less energy expenses), because in the spring’s delicate sunlight, the situation in Romania could be reconsidered.