There are two issues I have not written about, though they’ve been on my mind and are quite troubling, from a consistency point of view: Sevil Shhaideh Saga and Kovesi’s plagiarism. The second can wait, but the first is quite important.
This nomination reminds me of the Republican SCOTUS nomination, turning identity politics right back against the Dems, misplayed by the confused Dems into a fiasco – another lost opportunity.
There’s only one thing that was missing for me to be 100% on-board: I couldn’t find any interview with her on YouTube (only attempts to cover her). It looks like she’s [been told to] kept a low profile, and this further validates the “spineless puppet” spin. The few images I have seen of her portray her as excessively subservient (“servil” in Romanian; and BTW, “odalisque” is “cadana”).
Iohannis did not provide his reasons for the rejection (i.e., quietly), and he risks an impeachment, but the rest of the opposition (PNL and USR) is behind him. This sends the ball back in PSD’s court: while they could easily go for impeachment, it is difficult to predict what their voters will do, as many probably felt betrayed by Dragnea’s choice. However, Dragnea could present the fracas as a device created to get the Presidency and that once they have their own in the President’s seat, he wouldn’t bother with someone like Shhadeh as a PM.
I’m not a fan of Crin Antonescu, but after having watched the first few minutes of his long interview, it seems that we see it similarly: PSD has won fair and square, has made an excellent proposal and Sevil deserves to be taken seriously. He also seems to suggest something I did not know: that Iohannis did not congratulate publicly PSD – did he go Genie Bouchard’s route?!?
Of course, Crin is still reeling after Basescu’s era, while the latter is embracing with gusto his little opposition role, incisively yet pointlessly attacking Dragnea’s choice on Facebook. Which is as expected, since PMP, Basescu’s party, is the only other party with another candidate for PM, personified by Eugen Tomac. The latter’s circumstances are more opulent than his salary (paid by the government) would allow for, suggesting that he might be corrupt. It is highly unlikely that this guy has any chance to become PM, especially considering the “scorched earth” politics of his former-president puppet master.
So what are the accusations against Sevil? They don’t seem serious enough to me.
- Inexperienced. Most of her political experience heralds from Constanta, the Black Sea Coast county where most of the Romanian Turks (and Romania’s Muslim population) live. Having served only 6 months as a full minister in the government (and having been thusly approved by Iohannis) are supposedly irrelevant. It is obvious that Dragnea is naming a novice fully knowing that she is thus more controllable, but on the plus side, she will be able to grow into a full political animal and the opposition will also be better able to influence her. Ponta for example was considered “experienced” – is that what we need? Would that be better? This is a lost opportunity for a more civilized, less acerbic government. I fear that this is the best candidate they’d put forward and if a compromise will ever be reached, it will be around a far worse candidate.
- Akrim. Her husband, an agriculture specialist who previously worked for Syrian Assad’s government, is loyal to the latter in Facebook postings. First of all, I thought it’s insulting and sexist to attack a candidate through their husband. It’s Sevil who’d be PM, not Akrim, and as separate, individual human beings, they are each entitled to their own opinions and responsible for their own actions. I did not consider Basescu responsible for his brother’s actions, nor do I consider Sevil responsible for her husbands’s. Secondly, Assad’s regime is winning the war against the insurgency with Putin’s help and in the White House there will be Putin’s ally who simply doesn’t care about Syria. Under these circumstances, Akrim’s opinions and postings (which are also protected by free speech guarantees) are at worst irrelevant and at best favorable to a new government. Besides, as pointed out elsewhere, he’s got the Romanian citizenship after likely having been vetted by the SRI anyway, so why would this be a problem now if had not been back then? If the decision to give him citizenship was wrong, the problem is with whomever authorized it, not with Akrim.
- Akrim’s brother. One of his brothers, as yet unnamed, is supposedly under interdiction to travel to EU (hn-bro). Seriously? Who cares?!?
By preventing Sevil’s ascension to prime-ministership Iohannis missed an opportunity to help cast Romania into a far better light than pretty much anything him or his party could’ve done. I haven’t voted for PSD with a heavy heart, as on key policies I am closer to them than to PNL. Despite my or others’ preferences, PSD is the [more or less default] choice of most of the Romanian electorate. The others don’t seem willing or able to present a better alternative.
If it comes to a referendum, I’d be inclined to vote for impeachment. However, one scenario (Eugen Nicolicea, hn-scen) sees Iohannis suspended in Parliament, set Shhaideh as premier, then revoke the suspension, without the need for a referendum. I would support such a move.
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