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SDP, at the Crossroads of Time
POLITICS - February 9th 2005The formula of the future structure of the SDP (Social Democratic Party) leading board and the date of the partyâs Congress are the hot issues of todayâs meeting of the SDP Central Executive Bureau.
by LAVINIA DIMANCEAThe report, a very thick one by the way, contains the self-examination of the partyâs behavior until the elections, the causes of the electoral failure, as well as the partyâs future strategy. In the last four years, SDP took a few wrong steps, Nastase admits in the report, and one of them was the almost exclusive focusing on governing and the lack of any supported measures regarding the reform and the partyâs modernization. The party has been looked at as a "necessary evil" with etiquettes like arrogance, parade, corruption, bureaucracy, centralization. The party has lost because even those who benefited the most from the positive results of the SDP Government voted against it. The example most at hand for SDP is the one of the voters from a NAH (the National Agency for Houses) block of flats that the SDP Government built. 60% of them voted against SDP. The public communication excess proved to be a bug as well, because it produced an informational saturation for the electorate and this added up to the feelings of manipulation and rejection. "The quantity drowned the quality". SDP made a major strategic mistake by talking to its supportive group of electors only. SKIDDING The local elections were the first event to signal the partyâs autumn failure. At that time the party started to have lower percentages in the polls and "the leading boardâs firm intervention was the only thing to stop it from skidding". "That moment could have meant the beginning of an accelerated fall that would have led us to disastrous defeat", Nastaseâs report reads. The annulment of the Permanent Delegation has been seen as the limit of the status, even if they wanted it to be the positive signal for the care about the partyâs leadership innovation. The preliminary elections generated frustration and even the loss of several valuable people, even though the idea of their organization wasnât that bad at all. Their setup was the wrong part process. The fact that the electoral tours really separated the partyâs campaign from the Presidentâs campaign is admitted as well as the fact that the alliance with the HPR was one of the most disputed decisions. ERRORS Nastase admits that decisions were taken slowly, and this led to the party being seen as a "stiff and uncertain party that doesnât have the courage of taking full responsibility for its decisions". On the other hand, the attempts of restructuring the party have been weak, due to the pressures of the press and of the public opinion and it got stuck in compromises. The centre seemed too weak and too uncourageous in front of the subsidiaries. Some of the SDP members, unconcerned by the admittance in the Parliament, due to some eligible places, seemed to care a lot more about the future structure of SDP, than about the final result of the parliamentary elections, and of the presidential elections especially. In the second round of the presidential elections, there were some public communication errors, which resulted in the SDP candidateâs disadvantage. The restriction of the direct TV confrontations between the two candidates, the aggressive separation from GRP (the Great Romania Party) and the distinction from the DUHR (the Democratic Union of the Hungarians in Romania) position if the structure of the future Government are some of these errors. The elimination of the special voting sections in the villages and the partyâs exaggerated trust in the victory that led to the lack of levy of certain organizations also resulted into a "huge electoral bad-turn". "SDP lost because the image of courageous decisions, modernization and efficiency, typical for the governing, didnât superpose with the image of the party. The old SDP etiquettes (the barons, the corruption, the immobility) have been stronger than the new, but insufficiently well-known etiquettes", is the reportâs conclusion. STRATEGY The report distinguishes the action lines for the next period, and one of them regards the minimizing of the position loss in the local administration and in the Parliament, the maximum limitation of the public image and electorate loss. As a party of the Opposition that doesnât fear the anticipate elections, SDP is considering the departure from the Chambers if the present parties in Power would start processes at the limit of the Constitution. The party is also considering starting the parliamentary procedures for suspending President Traian Basescu if he continues to "guide Romania more and more towards an authoritarian and self-centered regime". The strategy of rebuilding the partyâs image and credibility is also a priority. "The press is working with stereotypes and, in the SDP case, they are devilish and with an expiry date yet to come: crypto-communism, corruption, local barons, state-party of the former communists that control the press and the justice." SDP knows that it being considered a corrupt party caused its defeat, and the solutions must be firm. Because the partyâs reconstruction is a 0th grade priority, SDP wants to rebuild its relationship with the press by guaranteeing more access to the partyâs activities and more complete statements at their endings. It was finally decided that the relationship with the press is crucial and that the effect of the lack of access inside the SDP headquarters for the journalists is a bad thing, because it gives the "impression of illegal conspiracies being made inside it and permits statement stealing under pressure at the exit".
Expectations from CExBWhat are the expectations of todayâs meeting at the Central Executive Bureau, and what could be the formula of the future SDP leading board?
by LAVINIA DIMANCEA, ANIELA NINEWe asked several members of the party in order to find out the answer. The former General Secretary of the Government, deputy Eugen Bejinariu, expects "positive results" and "wise decisions" for the partyâs unity and reformation. As for the future leading board of the party, Bejinariu stated that it should have the formula president - vice-president - general secretary. However, Deputy Marian Sarbu, former Labor Minister, considers that the most appropriate formula is the tandem formula, which should be taken over by the partyâs statute, with specific duties for the two. Sarbu believes that this tandem might have the formula of president - vice-president or president - prime vice-president. In these cases, Ion Iliescu would take over the president position, and Adrian Nastase would take over the other position. RESETTLEMENT Deputy Bogdan Niculescu-Duvaz states that todayâs meeting would be based on "the things we have to do, the things we did well and the things we did wrongâ¦" He says that SDP is going through a resettlement period and hopes this would not be a "cause for arguing". As for the partyâs leadership, Duvaz thinks that Nastase as well as Iliescu deserve their positions because both of them are in "representative political positions". In his opinion a formula in which the two would meet their demands must appear. "I donât think that Mr. Nastase should be treated in a different way than Mr. Iliescu was in 1996", Duvaz stated for us. The former authorized Administration Minister, deputy Gabriel Oprea, believes that todayâs decisions must focus on the partyâs unity, but cannot decide upon the most appropriate formula for the partyâs leading board. Instead, SDP senator Mircea Geoana believes that, for the partyâs leading board, a formula to "catch" both Adrian Nastase and Ion Iliescu should be found. "Not finding a formula in which both Iliescu and Nastase are caught would be a tactical mistake. It would be a mistake to look only in one direction and neglect the thoughts of the other leader!", Geoana said. The two SDP leaders would have to have "quasi-equal" rights, in order not to make the people think "one of them completely won, and the other one lost". The SDP spokesperson, Titus Corlatean, is clearly for the party being led by Adrian Nastase. However, he says that the expectations regarding the modernization of the party and keeping its unity lead to the fact that, for this stage, the solution would be the Adrian Nastase - Ion Iliescu tandem and the "teamwork, which would signal a certain innovation".
Translation : SORIN BALAN
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