That’s how it started in Hungary eight years ago. It's true, Victor Orban's Fidesz won a majority of two-thirds in Parliament in 2010. With this support he slaughtered not only the laws and institutions but also the Constitution. It would be the only specific difference to what happens in Romania these days. Still, we find a striking resemblance to the actions of Romania's PSD-ALDE-UDMR coalition in recent days. Like Orban, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea has not lost time in parliamentary debates and has changed key laws without consultation, transparency and other minimum conditions of dialogue in a rule of law.
I watched horrified on Wednesday morning the masquerade in the Regulatory Commission in the Parliament, where PSD MP Eugen Nicolicea canceled in a few minutes the right of the opposition to debate in plenary the proposed amendments to the laws of justice. The scene reminded me of the methods described extensively by Paul Lendvai in his excellent book "Hungary of Orban" by which FIDESZ changed everything, dozens of important laws in 24 or maximum 48 hours, grossly abusing the majority held in Parliament.
FIDESZ amended the laws of the judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the head of the High Court by the abolition and re-establishment of the institution, gave a media control law forcing journalists, among other things, to reveal their sources, or promoted important economic measures (taxing multinationals and banks) through amendments introduced directly in plenary, voted at high speed, without minimum public debates or other democratic rigor.
They would not be the only striking similarities, but we are not talking about them now. Essentially, here it is, from ignoring the rules, from the introduction of arbitrariness into the act of lawmaking and from the abuse of power, the collapse begins. This is how an authoritarian, undemocratic regime is born. Abusing the strong majority in Parliament, FIDESZ gradually captured all institutions of balance and control.
Orban has put people he trusts everywhere: at the presidency (a double champion of the scrapie subsequently dismissed for plagiarism), the Constitutional Court, the High Court (the wife of a good friend of FIDESZ who wrote the new Constitution), the Ombudman, the Budget Council, The Financial Supervisory Board or other institutions that balance the state, ending up after heavy fighting with the European Commission by taking over total control over the National Bank.
A lot of analysts quoted by Paul Lendvai in his book consider that Hungary is no longer a state of law, not a democracy, but a semi-dictatorship, and more and more people think the regime has been so entrenched that it can no longer be removed by democratic means in the next 15 to 20 years. FIDESZ clients thrive, the opposition does not exist, corruption is blooming, Viktor Orban's son-in-law is fed EU funds directly from the prime minister's office, the press has been silenced, and the population is fed with nationalistic mirages , conspiracy and anti-Soros speeches and referendums.
In any case, no emotion for FIDESZ next year when elections will be held again in Hungary. But the most tragic thing is that Brussels has not found an antidote or leverage in eight years to stop the construction of an illiberal state, defiantly assumed by Orban, in the heart of the EU. A big shame on Europe, a lamentable failure alongside Poland.
Today, the foundations of a new illiberal state are laid. By a bizarre historical fit, Romania's ex-King Michael, who died last week, faced similar circumstances when he went into exile some 70 years ago and when and returned for the last time to be buried at home: when the democracy in his country died under sledge-hammer blows. The Communists forced him to abdicate to proclaim the People's Republic, their descendants now crying with crocodile tears at the king's catafalque as they prepare to proclaim the Republic of the Thieves. And 1947 and 2017 are years of dramatism, of major social tensions that usually announce the great historical turns.
No wonder Viktor Orban and Liviu Dragnea have a friendly relationship. After they sniffed each other a little they realized that they were thinking and acting the same or maybe the latter finally found a model to follow in the former.
Besides the desire for power, Orban's ambition and revanchist spirit, guided in life after his own confession, "If I get a hand I give two back," Drangea has something extra: a definitive corruption-related sentence, a case undergoing trial at the High Court and another case at the anti-graft body DNA, an investigation in which he is accused of establishing an organized criminal group. All these big problems with the judiciary make the PSD leader a desperate man, more motivated than ever to destroy, attack and neutralize everything that threatens him now: the democratic state, his powerful institutions and external allies.
Investigations in the Tel Drum case are fast advancing, some executives have been indicted and it is a matter of days or weeks until Liviu Dragnea has the same fate. In addition to the personal time crisis generated by the latest DNA investigation into which he is accused of fraud with EU funds, the PSD leader also faces pressure from inside his party. He promised that until the end of the year he puts justice to silence and now has to deliver. It has become a great charge for the party anyway, all the polls show him with a share of trust close to Basescu, that is, shattered. He has only one chance of surviving politically: showing his muscles in a last strain.
For this reason, we are witnessing an assault on justice these days. That explains the hurry in Parliament, the frenzy of the abuse of power and the evacuation of the debate in the public space. Dragnea's desperation forced them to breach the promise that as long as the National Liberation Commission would not work, Iordache would not work, so the PSD, ALDE and UDMR take advantage of the public agenda occupied by the King's funeral to pass horrors even grater than the laws of justice.
They will modify the Criminal Code, abuse of service and many others of a difficult to imagine gravity, about which HotNews.ro will write extensively in the next hours and days. If it does not come out now, in the last hour of 2017, Dragnea will be history next year. If he succeeds, others will be, not him.
The only difference from Orban’s Hungary, socially anesthetized by wage increases and desolate nationalism, for which the Hungarian public has a special appetite , is that public opinion in Romania reacted vigorously. And here we have a problem: the street is a little tired, the energy is exhausted. The holidays are approaching, the risk of major social seizures decreases considerably.There is the major risk that next year we will all be awakened in another state from which we can not get out too easily, like Hungary's Orban, if we all sleep with the propaganda mirages of power.