All actors currently involved in the crisis affecting the political stage in Bucharest have already been signaling their stand after the May 19 referendum when they have to decide whether suspended President Traian Basescu returns to presidency or leaves. But many such signals have been confusing, with the exception of those detailed by Basescu himself.
And as each party considers their moves according not to the two possible results of the vote, but to how many votes Basescu receives, hard times are expected for the coming months as well.
Where Basescu stands: The suspended President has said his number one priority after returning to office was to press for the introduction of an electoral system based on uninominal votes as a means to clean up the political stage.
He has said he was interested in forming a new parliamentary majority with part of the 322 MPs who voted for his suspension on April 19 and who may regret what they have done.
His long-term priority is to have the Romanian people the Constitution so that the relations between the Presidency and other institutions of the state be clarified.
He has suggested, though not specifically, that he would no longer focus on his conflict with prime-minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu but on his relationship with the Parliament
Prior to speaking of a compromise with part of the 322 MPs who voted for his suspension, he used to speak of pressing for early elections.
He said he would not try to negotiate with the political forces that have fought to have him removed from the political stage.
Where Basescu’s political supporters stand:
Basescu’s main political supporters are the Democratic Party (PD) and the smaller, newly formed Liberal Democratic Party (PLD).
PD leader Emil Boc has said that after the May 19 referendum his party would focus on collecting signatures to launch procedures for changes to the Constitution. He also said the Constitution had to be changed in order to clear up the relationship between the President and the Parliament.
PD, which this spring was removed from the governing alliance formed with the National Liberal Party in 2004, said they would remain in the opposition and focus on monitoring the activities of the current Liberal-controlled “Tariceanu II” government.
PD and PLD have said repeatedly they would stick with suspended President Traian Basescu.
PD has called for the government to resign if Basescu returns to Presidency.
Where the Social Democrats stand:
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) is the main opposition party in the current legislature. PSD leaders do not have a common message on what would happen after the May 19 referendum.
According to PSD leader Mircea Geoana, “should Basescu signal that he did not understand anything from the current crisis and behaves the same [after his return to Presidency], it is guaranteed that the war with the Parliament will continue”.
Speaking of the referendum campaign run jointly with the far-right Greater Romania Party (PRM), Mircea Geoana said that “once we’re done with this month-long effort, each party will return to their own business”.
Geoana said early in the campaign that should Basescu be reconfirmed President but continue to breach the Constitution, the PSD will renew procedures to have his suspended again.
According to PSD honorary president and former head of state Ion Iliescu, in the event of early elections Mircea Geoana would not be an automatic candidate for the Presidency on behalf of the PSD.
Where the governing Liberals stand:
Liberal (PNL) PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, an arch-rival of President Basescu’s, has said in an interview for Euronews that he didn’t see an optimistic future should Basescu return to Presidency and that many political leaders would “ignore” the head of state.
PNL vice-president Dan Radu Rusanu said on May 11 that Liberal MPs would resign if Basescu received over 8 million votes at the referendum. His statements were then dismissed by many other PNL officials repeatedly.
PM Tariceanu has said he wanted an uninominal voting system before the end of the current semester.
PM Tariceanu has spoken in favor of a parliamentary republic should the Constitution be changed.