Protest against corruption in Southeastern Europe
Commentators are closely observing the phenomenon of growing anti-corruption movements in some countries of Southeastern Europe. These include the USR-Plus reform alliance in Romania and the protest movement in Bulgaria. In the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu, who is fiercely committed to the fight against corruption, has been elected president. What factors are behind the recent success of this young opposition?
Less ideology, more pragmatic politics
The new political movements in South-Eastern Europe are a result of accumulated disappointment since the fall of the Berlin Wall, observes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:
“In recent years, initiatives have emerged in many places to address this dissatisfaction. The transition from movement to party is fluid. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall almost all camps have discredited themselves, so the classic ideological rifts hardly play a role here. ... More important are concrete issues such as fighting corruption, freedom of the media, as well as ecology and quality of life. ... The fact that the young parties, with their fresh minds, have hardly been in government so far only enhances their credibility.”
A counter-model to the colour revolutions
For political scientist Johann Wolfschwenger, Moldova shows that change in Eastern Europe can also be brought about at the ballot box. He writes in a guest commentary for the Wiener Zeitung:
“Although Sandu is not the first woman at the head of an Eastern European country, she is one who could initiate a sustainable reform process with her party. To do so, she must defend the credibility and integrity of her party even against the influence of oligarchs, provocations by socialists and denunciations in the Russian-language media. Revolutions at the ballot box like that in Moldova hold out the promise of democratic transformation in the context of political stability, and provide a counter-model to the so-called colour revolutions or the Maidan movement.”