2019 was a frantic political year, not only in Romania, but all over Europe. It was, as Bloomberg noticed, the year when socialism became a dirty word. Again. It was’t for the first time this happened, and it isn’t for the last time.
What happened in Europe with the socialist parties
European socialists saw their MPs number dwindling in the European Parliament. from 185 seats before the European elections to 154 seats afterwards. On the other hand, we have to say the populists lost some seats in their turn: 216 before the elections vs. 182 at present; yet their number is superior to the socialists.
German Social-Democratic Party is at its lowest and in UK the Labour party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, suffered a painful defeat against Boris Johnson’s tories in December’s general elections.
If we add what happened in Italy, we have a more adequate picture of what is happening in Europe at the moment.
What contributed to the defeat of the socialists in front of the populists in Europe?
There are many factors who did that, but the main one is, in our opinion, leftists were in power all over Europe for such a long time that, eventually, they had to let room for the right-wing parties.
In the main time, the second reason would be the fact that Germany’s immigration policies, which encouraged nations to “adopt” citizens from outside European Union, refugees or not, allowed for the rightists to offer a stronger message and for the feelings against immigration to flourish. This way, the extreme-right and central-right parties gained traction in a complicated political year.
The third reason would be the increasing of the green activism all over Europe, fueled (not fossil fueled, though) by the climate changes, visible wherever on the Earth except from the White House windows. This is the reason why the number of the green MPs increased from 52 to 70 during the last elections.
What happened in Romania with the Social-Democratic Party?
From 2016 Romania was led by an alliance formed mainly by the Social-Democratic Party. In fact, the 2016 general elections were won by the PSD (Social-Democratic Party) with 45% of the votes, which was a huge defeat for the right-wing parties.
The paradox was that Romania took both leftists and rightist economic measures during the last three years, the country growing economically each year and reaching top 3 in the European Union, along with Poland and Hungary, in terms of GDP growth. It wasn’t enough, as the problems with justice of the Social-Democratic leader, Mr. Liviu Dragnea, and the political attempts to modify the law in a certain direction conducted to general and violent protests which led to the defeat of the Social-Democratic Party both in the European elections and in the presidential elections held in 2019.
Yet, in Romania political left is recovering, now in Opposition after the Romanian PM being ousted following a no-confidence vote in the Parliament. The measures the liberal party is taking are already unpopular, among them freezing pensions and salaries and announcing firing hundreds of thousands of state employees.
The last poll showed PSD (Social-Democratic Party) very close to the PNL (National Liberal Party), with 31% confidence vs. 33% confidence, which is a huge political leap forward from the 21% a month ago. In May 2020 Romania will held its local elections and, if the actual trend goes on, the social-democrats will get back their political grasp once again.
Is it a shame to be a socialist?
There is a confusion we have to clear – most of the young people consider socialism just a communism with modern clothes. Moreover, even the young expect more help from the states, they vote for the right-wing parties, attracted by their anti-socialism messages.
Yet, there is no shame in being a socialist, exactly like there is no shame in being populist, conservative or any other political doctrine member or supporter.
Socialism might have become a dirty word in 2019, as Bloomberg says, but the socialist trend will get back again. No doubt about it.