Tag Archives: corruption

The putsch that never was: Romanian PSD in turmoil

Note from the LeftEast editors: this article has been published in collaboration with the Balkan web-portal Bilten.org. The original publication can be found here. Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), recently survived a small rebellion. A few of his colleagues asked him to resign his positions as head of the party and head of the Lower House in Parliament. However, Dragnea, whose nickname Daddy evokes the patriarchal atmosphere of a famous Tennessee Williams play, managed to win this battle. Or at least this is what is visible publicly: the internal vote went heavily in favor for Dragne ..

The Romanian “Parallel State”: The Political Phantasies of Feeble Populism

This article is published in collaboration with the Serbo-Croatian portal Bilten. On the 17th of November 2017, the majority party in the Romanian parliament, the Social Democrats (PSD) issued a statement condemning the existence and practices of the Romanian “parallel state.” This strange notion, with its mysterious air of 1950s spy movies, had already made the headlines in the pro-government press, attracting considerable attention. The party resolution, however, gave it a heightened sense of reality. Suddenly, the most powerful party in Romania’s post-socialist history, the PSD, saw itself besieged by an ..

Slovak Spring? Not Really, Though the Weather is Changing

The Slovak national anthem begins with this dramatic stanza: “That Slovakia of ours / has been asleep so far / but the thunder’s lightning / is rousing it / to come to.” And it continues in a similar spirit: “Slovakia already arises / tears off its shackles.” While the author Janko Matuška, a member of the insurgent mid-nineteenth-century Romantic movement, referred to the then incipient “awakening” of the Slovak nation, the image conjured by the opening lines is even today reflected in one of the Slovaks’ favourite autostereotypes: that they are “sleepy” i ..

Belgrade: From necessity to aimlessness, or who for whom and what kind of city

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article originally appeared in the Serbian publication Masina on 10.06.2016. It was composed in the months following a series of nocturnal demolitions in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Savamala. The demolitions, conducted by unidentified workers in balaclavas, are widely perceived to be the vanguard actions of Belgrade on the Water, a controversial ‘urban renewal’ project that has been the focus of continuous protests led by the civic initiative Ne da(vi)mo Beograd (a name that simultaneously means: ‘Let’s not give Belgrade away’ and ‘Let&# ..

Bridging the Gap Between Technocracy and Fascism in Croatia

The Croatian political scene has been very lively since the last parliamentary elections held on 8th November 2015. The results of the election left both major centrist parties unable to form a majority government as the nominally left-of-centre coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won 56 seats, while the nominally right-of-centre coalition led by the Croatian Democratic Union (CDU) won 59 seats in a 151-seat parliament. The biggest winner of the election was a new party called Bridge (“Most” in Croatian), which won 19 seats and was thus the decisive factor in the formation of the new government ..

Prisons in Macedonia: the Infected Wounds of a Fractured Social State

Note from LeftEast Editors: This article has been published in collaboration with the web-portal Bilten.org. A month and a half has passed since a Presidential blanket amnesty of over 50 corrupt government figures and their collaborators sparked social upheaval across Macedonia. The action laid bare deep societal rifts, cracked open by double legal standards, dividing on the one end a corrupt political class and their clients shielded by impunity, economic capital, and political power, and on the other the majority of citizens dispossessed of access to legal and social justice. Although public attention has focus ..

From hero to zero: The spectacular rise and the immediate decline of the Romanian president

There is nothing quite like it in contemporary European politics. Perhaps there never was. The story of the current Romanian president seems more of a farce, a figment of imagination, than a real story. As with everything Romanian, it would be deeply funny and amusing if it weren’t tragic. President Klaus Iohannis came to power in November 2014 in very contested circumstances. Trailing by 10% his main competitor after the first round –the then Prime Minister Victor Ponta – and pretty much unconvincing during the TV debates before the run-off, Iohannis was all but defeated. In fact, from the very beginning, ..

NO to transition 2.0: Social recomposition, Decolonisation and Transautonomism

This article was originally published as part of the Gazette of Political Art (GAP) #12 „In the Name of the Periphery. Decolonial theory and intervention in the Romanian context” December 2015, coordinated by Veda Popovici and Ovidiu Pop. It is the second out of a small series of materials from this issue, which LeftEast will present in English. The illustration was prepared for GAP by Alex Horghidan. (translated from Romanian for LeftEast by Raluca Parvu) In some of the biggest Spanish towns, the 2015 local elections have been won by women, and the left won in the top five biggest cities in Spain. Man ..

The Puzzling Fall of Bulgarian Liberal Leader Mestan

Note of the LeftEast editors: the articles is published in co-operation with the Serbo-Croatian web portal Bilten.Org. Bulgaria’s political scene is notorious for its volatility: parties come and go, sometimes sweeping to power months after being formed; cabinets seldom last a full term in office. Amid this flux, the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) has remained one of the few stable actors. Yet, the party was violently rocked on Christmas Eve 2015, when its leader Lyutvi Mestan was abruptly overthrown by an internal coup, just as he seemed to be at the pinnacle of his power and the party, officia ..

Did it Ever Happen? Social Movements and the Politics of Spontaneous Consensus in Post-Socialist Romania

Note from the LeftEast editors: This article has first appeared in Romanian on the website Criticatac. It was translated into English by Maria Pozsar and extensively reworked by the author.                    1. The Oblivion Today, only two months after they took place, the protests mentioned in this text are already history. In a double sense: not only that they are over, but their presence within the public sphere seems as distant as possible. Like a bizarre non-event, the street demonstrations have largely disappeared from public focus and the changes brought by them don’t differ that much fro ..