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Has Populism Risen to Power in Romania?

The Alliance for the Unification of the Romanians (AUR): An Inside View: As the after effects of the Romanian Parliamentary Elections, which took place on December 6, 2020, begin to subside, the newest revelation of the Romanian political scene is just preparing to take centre stage.

The recently-registered Alliance for the Unification of the Romanians (AUR) party stunned globalist journalists, politicians, and Romanian society alike. Ignored by the mainstream media, the young party, headed by George Simion, took full advantage of social media to convey their message to a mostly angry population, which considers itself ignored by the current political parties in Romania. The message promoted by the new party is mostly Christian Conservative in nature, but the way in which the leadership and many of their members manifest themselves at the political rallies is quite flamboyant and, on more than one occasion, controversial.

The AUR combats most of the measures imposed by the liberal government towards the combatting of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fights for the removal of restrictions and planned vaccination campaigns. Their way of manifesting has led to several encounters with law enforcement and fines.

Another actively contested topic is the deforestation of Romania. This has become an increasing problem over recent years, in which mostly Austrian companies have promoted aggressive purchasing policies, which has led to the destruction of many ecosystems.  

More recent plans of the AUR have included the reintroduction of mandatory military service, and the basic military training of young men.

Last, but not least, the AUR wishes for the reunification of Romania and Moldova, two separate sovereign states, but historical elements of the same nation. The topics of the historical roots, necessity, and current sociological realities are much too complex to outline here, but they represent a solid basis for the acceptance or the rejection of such plans.

Next to the flamboyant George Simion, was in physical conflict with the police on several occasions, during his actions as a civil rights activist, comes Claudiu Târziu, co-president of the AUR. He plays a significant role in linking the party to the structures of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and he was one of the most prominent organisers of the unsuccessful Referendum for the Tradition Family, which gathered over 3.5 million signatures in its support, but which ultimately failed, due to a very aggressive mainstream media campaign against it.

Another element behind the AUR’s success is represented by the political alliance made with the party Neamul Romanesc (Romanian Folk’s Party), also known as the Generals’ Party, due to the number of high-ranking retired military officers, which make up most of the party’s leadership. 

Retired General Mircea Chelaru, the head of the party and also the former Chief-of-Staff of the Romanian Army, seems to have provided the newly-formed and occasionally chaotic young political party with the necessary organisational skills.

The AUR, which managed to burst out, centre stage, with 9% of the vote, resulting in 14 senators and 33 members of the Chamber of Deputies (Romanian parliament). The fact that almost nobody predicted the AUR to do well at all makes the result even more surprising.

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The right-wing party’s success was set against a backdrop of mainstream media hostility. There was much hate spewed out against the populists, individuals and the party itself. Sources were not checked and statements not confirmed, but everything was done to portray the party members as uneducated, violent, militaristic, pro-Russian or just plain stupid.

Since the AUR’s pool of voters is made up mainly of young people less than 34 years of age, the challenges lying ahead of the party include the counter-balancing of the negative campaign coordinated against them, keeping the loyalty of their young voters and to expand into other demographics. Most importantly of all, another key challenge is to outline their strategy for the next four years, in order to prevent their victory from becoming a one-time occurrence.

There are varied threats to their development, as the new MPs will almost certainly be ‘head-hunted’ for recruitment by the other political parties. Change in political affiliation is neither uncommon nor difficult for any of the Romanian MPs. There is also the usual risk of organised smear campaigns against the AUR, with the perpetrators wishing to tarnish the public image of the party in the long-term.

In terms of their external political outlook, a specific ideological label is hard to find. Due to their pro-European stance, they cannot be called Eurosceptics, yet cannot be included in the pro-EU category either. Their tendency towards the Visegrad Group will make itself felt over the next few years. Lacking the traditional ingredients for populism, but also not essentially nationalistic, the new party will most likely have to find itself ideologically after their surprise results. (EXCERPT from Remus Rădoiu analysis). Source

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1 reply »

  1. There’s one nationalist party in Romania. I believe it’s called Noua Drepata? It means New Right. I wonder if they’re polling or winning seats. I see lots of powerful video footage of them marching and demonstrating against Marxism and open borders, so that’s good. I’ve been told many Romanian nationalists/people are anti-Hungarian over Transylvania. Maybe I’m speaking from ignorance as an American, but I hope Hungarians and Romanians unite, just as I hope all of Europe unites. We have enough division within our people as it is, and we need to unite now more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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