What drives Romania's illiberal politicians?
The parliament in Bucharest eased the country's anti-corruption laws in December. Romanian journalists fear the country is becoming increasingly illiberal and explain the strategies the politicians are using to secure their power.
Illiberalism in Romania just a means to an end
The government in Romania appears to be taking the same path as Hungary or Poland politically but that's not really the case, Ziare comments:
“Poland and Hungary, the models of illiberalism, are miles ahead of the [Romanian ruling party] PSD in terms of the power of their political message to their respective societies - and above all in terms of the coherence of their policies. ... The goal of the three regimes in Budapest, Warsaw and now in Bucharest is to take over total power and overrule democracy and the rule of law according to the formula of illiberal ideology. ... [Lacking both, such a message and such coherence] the ruling coalition in Bucharest is simply reforming the judiciary so that it responds to its own penal and judicial needs.”
Romania's isolation only helps those in power
Romania's politicians have managed to make the Romanian people believe that the fight against corruption was imposed by external powers, Dilema Veche concludes:
“The losers in the race for European integration are now finding a joint framework for expressing their discontent and back precisely those politicians who are to blame for their precarious situation. A brilliant coup - the victims are blindly following their own executioners. ... The price for Romania is that it will be shut out of the big debates about the future of the EU as an area of freedom, stability and prosperity. This is good news for the illiberals. The more isolated Romania is, the more power they wield within the country.”