The leader of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea has realized that he is fighting the justice system in vain unless he first controls the institutions of force. For that reason, with his crony Viorica Dancila being appointed Prime Minister, he quickly moved to the plan of total power capture. I wrote on Friday that the PSD leader will capture the last unconquered institutions of the state, the intelligence and security-related bodies and services DOS, DGPI, SPP, SRI, SIE and obviously the anti-corruption prosecutors office, the DNA. Only three days after the new government took office, the balance looks bad. Three key institutions are already being taken in sight and pressed to surrender to the new master.
The government has dropped the services of the Guard and Protection Service (SPP) and the PSD leader has declared total war on SPP boss General Pahontu, accusing him of political involvement. Thus, the ground is laid for possible legislative changes, institutional beheadings and the passage of the institution under political control. Dragnea is convinced that this is the only way to control everything that moves among the dignitaries, ministers, the government and beyond.
He would have very likely chosen an emergency ordinance for that, if SPP were not part of the national security system and any legislative change needed the CSAT's opinion. Nothing stops him from changing the law in Parliament in a matter of urgency, and until then to replace the SPP's service with the Gendarmerie's, but here comes the question of the legality of such a measure. Former President Traian Basescu has qualified it as illegal.
Subordination of SPP is just the first step and not the decisive one. The PSD leader quickly took the big step, announcing on Wednesday his intention to discuss as soon as possible the laws on the functioning of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). It is obviously an attempted intimidation and a request for unconditional surrender. Clearly, Dragnea and Tariceanu will want to get the leadership of SRI and SIE, change the way of appointing the heads of the two services and move them from Cotroceni to Parliament.
Regarding the leadership of SIE, Dragnea here also raised the issue of appointing a new boss. The service operates without a director since the resignation of Mihai Razvan Ungureanu in September 2016. As for the two deputy chairs, Vasilica Sarca and Silviu Predoiu, they make the legal retirement age this year (60 years) - one in May, the other in August. I resume Friday's assumption: If the PSD-ALDE retirement age were higher, wouldn’t the two deputy heads of the service be grateful?
Very likely, once announced the attack on the services, the PSD will be looking to execute it quickly, within a month at most. Dragnea knows that once this war officially started, long illness leads to sure death. On this unprecedented assault background, President Iohannis's soft and confused game encourages the re-orientation of the people in the system to the new powerhouse. Meaning, some in the services will let him down if they don’t already work for their future supreme chief. In any case, the lack of reaction of the president generates massive demobilization in the structures below him.
There is a fundamental difference from the attack on National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), the penal and penal procedure codes, the laws of justice, judges or prosecutors. No one in the street will mobilize to defend the institutions of force. It doesn't happen in any democracy as people do not empathize with the shadow power, much less in the face of a violent campaign of demonizing services. In the public space, SRI and DNA have been constantly presented as institutions that act abusively, led from the shadow Romania and formed a veritable "parallel state", "illegitimate", exercising power on behalf of politicians.
As I already warned, the only thing missing from this picture is the replacement of the chief of Special Operations (DOS), an institution which DNA counts on in order to make wiretapping activities, and the chief of the General Direction of Domestic Protection (DGPI), the secret services of the Ministry of Interior. A force in the control of the public administration. Here, there will not be any major problems because the move can be made over night, by means of a minister’s orders.
Liviu Dragnea makes all this movements in force, with his invitation to negotiation with the President on the background. When he was interviewed by Antena 3 news channel on Monday night, he transmitted quite clearly to Klaus Iohannis that he would not give up the power. He suggested that he would detonate himself at the SRI committee of the Parliament with details from inside and he used all means to suggest a deal: save me or I will destroy you. Leave me alone or I will blow up the state. Add to all this the changes to the Penal Code, the revocation of the head of DNA and other gestures to weaken the independence of the judiciary and you have the complete picture. I repeat, the tactic changed but the goal remains the same. Dragnea wants to have control of the justice and subordinate the institutions of force.
Inside PSD, Liviu Dragnea behaves like a true despotic leader, decapitating those who challenged him, recovering those who he punished, in a demonstration of strenght and authority.
At this time, nothing seems to stop him. The seizure of power plan is set in motion. If it will be taken to the end, Romania will transform in a dictatorship. And it will be much more ugly than the one in Poland, Hungary and Turkey. We will have to deal with an economically inefficient dictatorship, one without ideology, without providential leaders and fanatics. We will not be an illiberal state but a Mafia state. The dictatorship of bandits, illiterates and impostors will come over us. Unfortunatelly, many, too many will feel comfortable in it and others won’t even realize what ruins their life daily.
The others can only join the crash of rhinos, resist for a while or to leave.