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February 3, 2023
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Opinion Politics Romanian News Social

Nationalism Rising in Romania

Nationalism is not a new movement in Romania, politically speaking. In 1991 there was established one of the leading nationalist parties in Romania of that time, the Greater Romania Party – PRM. For years, PRM was a parliamentary party and even had members in the European Parliament. But 2008 was the last year they entered the Romanian Parliament.

The death of its leader, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, in 2015 made it even more complicated for the party to enter the Romanian Parliament again. This seemed to be the end of the nationalist movement in Romania.

The rest of the parties were so content about the failure of the nationalist to pass the required 5% to enter Parliament that they were constantly bragging about that, telling the Europeans that Romania doesn’t have any nationalist political formation in Parliament. The Romanian Socialists or the Liberals were quite convinced that this was what could make the Europeans start showing Romania a bit of respect.

However, it was not the case as the Europeans had their nationalist movements at home. Having or not a nationalist movement in your backyard doesn’t mean anything. One country is not more or less civilized if it has a nationalist movement. It’s just the opinion of the voters, and every vote counts and has to be respected.

Now the situation is quite different. Another nationalist movement, more visible, action prone, and created on the same principles, is rising: AUR – the Alliance for the Unification of all Romanians. While PRM took its name from the unification of all the Romanian territories, AUR means almost the same.

AUR succeeded in getting 9% of the votes during the last elections. It was enough to ensure them entering the Parliament. There was a shock for the Socialists and the Liberals at that moment. Now the surprise is even more significant.

After two years in the pandemic, with a growing pool of anti-European feelings, AUR has got to 17% voting intention with an increasing collection of anti-European emotions. From now on, the sky is the limit for the nationalists.

Voting intention in Romania, December 2021

While the Socialists from PSD – Social Democratic Party dropped one point, the Liberals from PNL – National Liberal Party climbed one in the voting intention. Meanwhile, AUR reached 17%.

The rising of the nationalist movement happened in a context when this political formation behaved as the single one in the Opposition. This, of course, includes the latest protests at the Parliament, where people manifested against restrictions.

Protests at Parliament
Protests in front of the Romanian Parliament

By taking the side of the majority of Romanians, by fighting against restrictions, by manifesting against the abuses of the authorities, AUR leaders know they could go further, above 20%. This is when the party will play a significant role in the political and social life in Romania.

Along with this, we can expect two central ideas to be approached: the concept of the unification between the two sister countries, Romania and the Republic of Moldova, and the idea of opposing the autocracy of the European institutions. Euroskepticism will grow higher and the thought of getting the country out of the European Union will get much more awareness.

Does the European Union think Poland and Hungary pose a risk to the Union when discussing abandoning the European project? Wait and see what will happen in a year or so when AUR, along with the other parties, will enter the pre-election year!

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