The real reason why Iohannis is pressured into accepting a debate with Dancila

PSD’s reasons are quite obvious. The party is down. After Dragnea took off its mask, even some of the most loyal supporters were horrified by what they saw. It got two million votes at the elections for the European Parliament, and so did Viorica Dăncilă in the first round of the presidential elections.

These are the worst results in the history of the successor of the Romanian Communist Party. By far! In the 30 years of their existence, they have never before suffered such categorical defeats.

The cruise speed of the PSD was, until this year, from 3 to 3.5 million votes. Two million, according to the claims of the state party, is more of a score appropriate for the Second Division. What’s even worse, however: it could only be the beginning of the final collapse for them. At this time next year, the PSD could be a party of 10-15%. How?

It all depends on the local elections. It is enough to have a look at the history of the correlations between the results in the local and the parliamentary elections in order to understand that the political structure of the Parliament has always been significantly influenced by the result at the local level. Why? Because the machine for extracting votes from the poor rural area is in the hands of the mayors. The party that controls the majority of mayors in the election spring will automatically control this machinery in the fall.

More precisely. The PSD is not terrified, at this moment, that Dăncilă misses the presidency. The PSD trembles at the thought that they will take 20% (at best) in 2020 local elections. So, for PSD, the stakes of the campaign for the second round of the presidential elections are, in fact, to create the premises for a return to a figure of three million voters next year. Otherwise, it downgrades to the Third Division.

To achieve this objective, the PSD launched the hysterical campaign meant to induce the idea that the president is afraid of a debate with Viorica Dăncilă. What is the plan, concretely? To awaken their own electorate from sleep, demonizing the common enemy, Klaus Iohannis. For this they took from the opponents’ arsenal the accusation of arrogance, which contributed to the defeat of Nastase and Ponta.

To this „plagiarism” they added the accusations that the president is scared and cowardly, targeting the anti-PSD electorate. They are meant to demobilize Iohannis’s voters. It is not a tactic to underestimate. Many voters are convinced that the president will surely get a second term. From the beginning, there is a risk of absenteeism. If trying to slip doubt that Iohannis deserves to be re-elected would be successful, the result would be a relatively modest turnout for his supporters.

A mobilization of the PSD electorate and a demobilization of the anti-PSD pro-Iohannis electorate should lead, according to social-democratic calculations, to a score of 50-something to 40-something in favor of Iohannis. It would be the maximum of what the PSD can hope for right now. Why?

As I said, PSD rules out the variant of a victory of their candidate. They do not even count on a consistent increase in the number of voters. Instead, they hope that if they get more than 40% in the second round they will be able to stop the haemorrhage of mayors who are now bootlicking the liberals, negotiating their own betrayal (not necessarily officially assumed) in exchange for continuing to benefit from funding through PNDL.

They will sell to the mayors a score of over 40% as if it were the sign that the tables are already being turned. „Just think about it, if under such conditions, with such a weak candidate, we managed to pull this off, in spring, after PNL starts to erode, we will have no problem getting back to near or even over 30%. „

Will their strategy prove viable? Hard to say, but they have no choice. It’s the only card they can play. And they do it desperately, without hesitation. The dementia with the fake news about Iohannis wearing a headset because he needs to tell her something stands proof for that. I have seen the PSD doing many things, but something like that …

The PSD’s actions to discredit the president are just the tip of the iceberg. Several underground armies with a common stage objective are covertly working on spreading the feeling that Iohannis is either arrogant, cowardly, thief, stupid, fearful, or all at the same time: Iohannis shall not triumphantly assume the new term! Some coordinate with PSD, others rely on more sophisticated, camouflaged cannon muzzles, but spreading the same messages.

After the result of the first round, the invisible anti-Iohannis front resigned themselves, like the PSD, to the thought that Iohannis would get a new mandate. All they intend now is to make him regain the Cotroceni crawling on his knees, after a war of attrition meant to weaken him, to tarnish him, to lessen his self-confidence and ruin his all-powerful aura he acquired after the collapse of the PSD government and the installation of a Liberal Executive. Why are they doing it?

There are two major components of this invisible front. First of all, there are those who are scared of what they can expect after Iohannis liberates from the electoral pressure and settles even better in the presidential chair. Who are we talking about? About those who helped Dragnea give terrible hits to vital institutions.

I have written this numerous times in the last three years: the PSD – ALDE government would not have managed to move almost anything from the institutional edifice without the support of a vast network of former and current people in the Romanian state, intelligence officers, magistrates and many other categories. 

All of them received a solar plexus strike when Dragnea was sentenced. They all received a blow to their heads when the parties in whose shelter they operate, PSD and ALDE, scored poorly in the elections. Since spring, everyone has been wondering what awaits them. Is the hunt against them going to begin? Are they going to be pointed at in the public square? Or be convicted? Are their assets going to be confiscated?

They received the coup de grâce when the Orban government was appointed. And not necessarily because they fear the actions of the Executive. But because it was the confirmation that Iohannis had taken over all the reins of the state. Therefore, according to the logic by which they operate, they will soon be in his hand. This is where the direct interest in cutting off his momentum comes from.

A president elected by a very slim margin (after a super-light competition !!), bombarded from all sides, having to give explanations daily for all kinds of irrelevant topics, harassed with fabricated allegations, will be much less willing to open up a new front and start cracking down  on them. He will be happy that he survives and will not dare to think about relaunching the anti-corruption fight or investigating how the Romanian state was attacked during the PSD – ALDE governance. 

The other army is made up of numerous nuclei dissatisfied with how power is administered. They want more, but cannot get it. Or they are afraid that soon they won’t receive any. It seems to them that others are favored by the president’s trusted people. These are mainly business interests, but not only. It is about privileges and pride and immunities and the need for a protected future.

A president entering the new term triumphantly, on a white horse, like a king, will have no interest in listening to their wishes. One who is constantly wondering what new scandal will the next day bring, „what’s their next hoax on us,” may ask for their help. Maybe, he’ll be willing to negotiate. To yield something. To let go of him and his principles and goals in order to buy his peace.

I will start to worry when Iohannis will no longer be attacked and no fuss will be made about wrong, but minor, benign decisions. I will be extremely disappointed if he does not do what he promised, if he does not help Romania to get rid of thievery and incompetence.

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Dan Turturica
Dan Turturică este redactorul-șef al publicației online www.universul.net. Cu o experiență de trei decenii în presa scrisă și audiovizuală, a debutat în 1990 la săptămânalul „Expres”. A condus timp de aproape opt ani redacția cotidianului „România liberă”, iar între anii 2000-2004 a fost redactor-șef al ziarului „Evenimentul zilei”. Tot din poziția de redactor-șef a condus și redacția săptămânalului „Prezent”. În perioada 1995-1997, Dan Turturică a fost corespondent special al ziarului „Ziua” din SUA. În acest timp a urmat și Masterul în Comunicare de Masă al Universității din California. Experiența în presa scrisă este completată de cea în audiovizual și online. A fost producător și prezentator al emisiunii „Reporter incognito” (Prima TV) și a moderat talk-show-urile „Prim Plan” (TVR) și „Arena Media” (Realitatea TV). În perioada 2015-2019 a fost redactor-șef al site-ului www.digi24.ro. Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dan.turturica?ref=br_rs, https://www.facebook.com/DCTurturica/; Twitter - https://twitter.com/danturturica

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