Tag Archives: election

Ionel Nitu: “The electoral campaign attacks ad have been under the limit of decency”

Mr Ionel Nitu is a top Intelligence analyst, Executive Director of Intergraph Computer Services, the Romanian partner of the American corporation, Intergraph.  For over 16 years, Ionel Niţu worked at the Romanian Intelligence Service – SRI, where he held various middle and top management positions. He was for many years, the Head of the SRI Analysis Division.


– According to the opinion polls given to the press, it seems clearly that there will be two ballots and the candidates for the final round are also known. Mr Nitu, what chances might be to exist some surprises?

Ionel Nitu: – As I have said in an interview published in April 2014, the two finalists are called Victor Ponta and Klaus Johannis. I do mention that by that time, none of them were official candidates for the Presidency. There will be no surprises that will change this reality.

– How do you foresee that the vote options will be distributed in the second ballot?


Ionel Nitu

I.N.: – Both candidates will have cca. 70% of the votes. None of the others will pass 10%. Some will not even get the votes from the ones that signed for their nomination (min. 200.000 votes, which means 2% if there will be 10 million voters).

But, there is a competition for reaching some psychological threshold in the first ballot: 40, 30, 10 and 5 %. I suppose are known the candidates names. If Victor Ponta gets more than 40%, and Klaus Johannis under 30% (even if the difference between the numbers are extremely low), the voters of the second candidate could be demobilized. If both will have results that begin with 3 (for example 31% and 39%), it will be, psychologically speaking, a greater hope for a possible victory for the one from the second place.

The others are fighting for their own electoral pool confirmation for the notoriety and, eventually, for negotiations between the ballots with the finalists. Only one has the hope of a future Prime-Minister position.

Regarding to the second ballot, there are many other hypothesizes. We don’t know if there will be more or less voters than in the first ballot. To be certain, not all the voters from the first ballot will come to the second one too.

Maybe for sure those that will come in the second one will come for the negative vote.

– What do you think that the main component are fundamental on the option of Romanians to choose a candidate or another: the person, the ideology that he/she claims, the party discipline, the electoral program (I just joking!)?

I.N.: – The vote at Romanians is more emotional, not rational. Moreover, this campaign – that unofficial began in 2012 – has been so complex and had so many turnovers, that it has been no place for debates on TV programs. In the first ballot, it will matter the mobility of the parties. In the second one it will also count the analysis, as a comparison, between the two finalists.

What main errors have you noticed in the campaign strategies, errors that you deem to have had a bad impact regarding to the ranking in voters preferences?

I.N.: – There have been plenty of them and I prefer not to talk about them. I would remark that some have not been used with efficiency by the competitors.

Mainly, there were errors diverted from the absence of coherent strategies, but also errors because of some conjunctures. Some conjunctures have been deliberately caused.

– Given that in the last month we assisted to a ”reality show” in which – between two exposures about endemic corruption of the political class and the examination/restraint of some well-known names from the political picture of Romania – were implied the same as commercials, some news/declarations/advertising from the electoral campaign, do you believe that a serious electoral program and a proper strategy could have permeated and persuaded the electorate?

I.N.: – As already I have said in other articles, in this campaign President Basescu and the force institutions of state will make the difference.

There is more to discuss about this justice revived at maximum speed in full electoral campaign, but what I can’t correctly estimate is the effect over the electorate. It will be or not motivated to go and vote? It will punish in a way or another the corrupt politician? It will determine a pro or contra behavior of electorate ?

Regarding to the political programs, the messages seem that have not came to the electorate. It has been rather used by the candidate’s campaign teams for the attacks. It was a mudslinging campaign. But this is not the big bad. Actually, these attacks ad from this campaign have been under the limit of decency.

RomPres1– You will vote for sure. I have also noticed that you are a fervent “activist” in combating absenteeism. I will not ask with whom you are going to vote. But in exchange, I will ask you for an advice. What should the ones that have not been persuaded by any of the candidates do? (I too am one of these 🙂 ) How could we manifest our civic sense?

I.N.: – Personally, I have not voted for a long time. But this time, I will go. I am going because I know with whom I’ll vote. Because I have identified among the candidates one that is my model as a President. I have identified the person that, by his behavior and thinking mode, resembles my expectations regarding to this high position in state. I advise my all close ones to go no matter whom they are choosing to vote. Go and vote if you see in one of the candidates the salvation of this country!  This country must be taken out from the morass of history.

If you are not identifying a model in none of these 14, at least go  and vote the ”minor evil”. Not least, go and vote so you can limit the likelihood of electoral fraud.

I think that the action of voting should be treated more seriously. Because it is about our future, our children’s future, the future of all of us for the next 5 or even 10 years. The vote is the purest manifestation of democracy ! The absenteeism could be considered a reprimand to the improper political class, but I do not see in this attitude a plus for democracy – yet poor-developed/strengthened – in Romania.

– Does the restoration of civic spirit of the Romanians represent the key of a future and mature reformation of the actual political class? Where do you believe that the rebuilding of social cohesion and of a normal report between the government and the political leaders of this country must begin?

I.N.: – The reformation and modernization of the state must begin with the reformation and modernization of the political class. The rebuilding of social cohesion must begin from the value system.

There are extremely important things to be discussed here. I can tell you that many of my ideas have found their place where it belongs. I won’t resume them here because I don’t want you to know with whom I will vote. I am neither a trainer nor a distorting reviewer.

I am just an analyst. I give advices and ideas to any who can take and implement them. Not the ideas are the ones that matter; after all we are all connected to the same thinking currents. The sobriety and the leader’s determinations to put them into practice is what matters in fact! It also matters their effect on medium and long term on the citizen, on the society. This is all. The rest are just stories.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

translation by Iolanda von Wunderstein

Barack Obama and his second term in the White House

Varianta în Română poate fi citita in revista Cadran Politic.

Presidential elections in the United States have generated stormy debates pro and against the two candidates. Global relevance of these elections not must be proved, though not always Americans choices mean significant changes in U.S. policies towards different regions of the world. And then there was my little surprise to find that in many cases strong argument in favor of Republican Mitt Romney was represented by the need coming to power of a politician to impose order and mighty “to put in corner” enemies of America. The acme of irony, but such an argument invoked also the supporters of Vladimir Putin in the Russian presidential elections, when the Eastern giant clam return from planetary powers, issue which outraged the West. Double extent hypocrisy continues to be an instrument inseparable from the policy, but this is already another discussion.

Returning to the victory of Democrat Barack Obama, we can not to avoid to remark that even the most democratic country in the world has experienced themselves with accusations of election fraud, the organization Truth Vote announcing that holds the arguments and evidence that there were irregularities in voting process. Personally, I believe that an argument of type “no American president in office in the last 60 years, has won a second term as large percentage of the unemployed” is insufficient, however would endeavor sociologists to demonstrate the standard patterns of behavior of groups of voters. Moreover, I reiterate an old idea, saying that many of the flaws of present society is based on standard sociological calculations inoculated of human behavior. And last but not least, the option of voters depends crucially on the proposed alternative opponent. American Society is enervated of crisis, tired of foreign military intervention, with fewer possibilities for the mass of voters to see the long-term perspectives. Obama’s proposed economic plan seems to be more or less logical (not necessarily reliable). From this point of view, is interesting to note the reason why no independent analyst approved Romney’s plan. Because it has no economic sense, they said. Certainly both plans have positive points. Important is whether their application will generate stability and growth. Most economists are skeptical about it.

Invigorated by his electoral triumph, President Obama started to use some new political capital – acquired (through the obtaining of an additional term in the White House) with a public appeal to Congress to try to prevent imminent ‘fiscal cliff ‘ that the United States will face if by the end of year will not come to an agreement in Congress, that remained divided between Democrats and Republicans on debt reduction plan, and on raising taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans, while Obama ensuring population that tax obligations incumbent on middle class will not increase. Republicans and Democrats are forced to reach an agreement on the budget, even temporarily, before the end of this year, when it will materialize “fiscal cliff”. The term designates immediate increase taxes and reduce overall public expenditure which will automatically enter into force in January, according to a law voted in 2011. From the presidential desk in the White House, President Obama said, “it’s time to get back to work. The American people voted for … action, not for politica … as usual”. Concerning the main action domestically, Obama said: “We presented a detailed plan that allows us to make investments … while reducing the deficit of 4000 billion over the next decade.” Arguments wanted to signal its opening to find a compromise, Obama is well aware of election exit polls showed that most Americans agree with the imposition of higher taxes (in total disagreement with the Republican opposition) of who earn more than $ 250,000 per year. Note that two hours before the press conference of U.S. President, in a sign that Republicans do not intend to easily accept a compromise, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, reiterated opposition to tax increases for the richmen. With regard to those who would be affected by such a measure, the acid reaction came from tycoon Donald Trump, which characterized the election as a disgrace, an ordinary fake, a shame and urged Americans to start a revolution. Later, Trump has deleted most of insulting posts on his Twitter account. But it is difficult to quantify how many wealthy Americans have a similar view. Of course, those who did not already transferred their assets and businesses to fiscal paradises in different parts of the world.

Returning to the need for economic measures, we note that independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned the president that postponing the implementation of a plan for taxing beyond the end of this year would push the U.S. economy back into recession next year and unemployment will rises more than nine percent as it is now. Moreover, this could lead to tax increases for the middle class, which the Obama struggles to avoid. Moreover, he stressed that “the proposed plan to Congress could give hope to millions of families, 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses need help to make sure that they enter the new year”. Incomes are declining and at least 12 million homeowners have mortgages that exceed the value of their houses. Consumers aren’t spending and therefore business is not investing. “This leaves government as the only possible source of substantial new spending to create jobs. Yet there is no jobs program” warns Huffington Post.

If compromise on the fiscal measures between Republicans and Democrats seem difficult, however on health insurance reform, known as “Obamacare” the two sides appear to have reached an agreement. Republican spokesman for the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, said, quoted by AFP, that the Republicans will give up any attempt to repeal health insurance reform introduced by President Barack Obama and hated by his opponents, that must completely enters into force in the new political context. Balance of power on Capitol remains the same as before the election, President Obama have Democratic majority in the Senate are required to reach an agreement with Republicans which are majority in the House of Representatives. But…note that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that there will still be 30 million uninsured Americans by the end of the decade. Tens of millions more will be underinsured as the companies are free to raise their premiums and deductibles. Meanwhile, corporate dominated health care system will continue to be huge drag on our global competitiveness and long-term fiscal health.


Externally, Obama’s presidency first term marked the relocation anti-missile shield in Europe, resetting relations with Russia, a certain continuity of U.S. projects in the Black Sea, so before elections the initiated in military-political issues rather expressed the hope that things remain unchanged. While the reason of the mission in Libya remains questionable, no results were effective. With Libya’s peace and political integrity under question, it was an example that the viability of NATO as a transatlantic alliance is still foggy. At the end of 2011, the full withdrawal of combat soldiers from Iraq was complete, ending nearly a decade of bloodshed and violence. Sad war without losers and winners. The killing of Osama Bin Laden, Washington’s one-time ally, was widely appraised as a success. But the relative transparency about why it happened so late has made to more experienced observers to shake their head with disbelief, despite the popular approval. Iran remains a sore spot for American foreign policy. Obama maintained the sanctions regime on the country for its nuclear program and even extended it in concert with other international partners. The failure to open diplomatic relations with Teheran and make Israel accountable for its own nuclear weapons in the process makes this a severe weakness in Obama’s foreign policy.

Recent, U.S. diplomat spokesperson Victoria Nuland refused to comment on questions about international issues and their priority for the new U.S. administration after presidential elections. One thing is certain: the main intermediary between the White House and the international community during the previous mandate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave the Obama team after its reinvestment of January 20, 2013. Regarding to the seat occupied by Mrs. Clinton was considered the name of John Kerry, a former opponent of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Presence of the last on the list of potential successors as head of U.S. diplomacy has already produced some irritation to the Kremlin, knowing that Susan Rice has had several disputes with the Russian ambassador to the UN meetings about Moscow’s attitude towards the Syrian conflict, so that Moscow expected that “will be difficult” to work with Washington if Rice comes to power, according to sources inside the Foreign Ministry of Russia. However no relationship with Russia seems to require priority attention of the White House. In this regard there could be changes of tone rather than substance. Otherwise, it will remain anthological in the annals of diplomatic the conversation between Obama and former Russian President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (when Obama asked shortly time, before the elections, because after he could be more flexible in dealing with Russia. Medvedev assured that Obama will submit his grievance to Vladimir Putin and Republicans have really made a fit of rage on the subject !). However, this does not seem to matter much in American decision to grant Obama a second term, except of course those with clear views rusofobe, but are far from decisive influence Washington’s relations with Moscow. On the list of future staff actions in Washington and President Obama continues to remain Syrian file and increasingly powerful Islamist movements in the Middle East, Iran and last but not least, already recognized public – U.S. special focus on the Asia-Pacific region and capacity of influence exerted here in all priority areas: economic, political and military.

Lanny Davis, a former advisers of ex-President Bill Clinton suggested in an editorial for The Hill that he believes that “Obama is expected likely to work more with lawmakers whether it’s fiscal problems or immigration reform, but especially it is likely to follow the model of the second term of his predecessor Clinton”. Can be this the explanation that the first person who called Obama after election results was Bill Clinton ?

UPDATE: November 14. 2012 – President Obama took questions from reporters Wednesday in his first full-scale news conference of his new term.

Obama made his first comments on the widening scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, plus addressed upcoming negotiations with Congress on taxes and spending cuts. He also answered about attacks on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice coming from GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for her comments following deadly violence in Libya. Obama said the senators are trying to “besmirch” her reputation. Obama said also that there is no debate that there needs to be accountability after four Americans were killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And he warned Sens. McCain and Graham again: “When they go after the U.N. ambassador apparently because they think she’s an easy target then they’ve got a problem with me.” He said he’s not yet determined whether Susan Rice is the best person for the Secretary of State job. Full transcript of Obama Press Conference can be read here.

France, Greece, Serbia – elections under the impact of austerity

The first weekend of May is proving extremely eventful. Let’s take a look around…
Sunday, 6 May 2012, the main event will be, of course, France presidential election.  Some 46 million French will decide who will be their new President: Sarkozy or Hollande. Elections are running in Serbia and Greece, too. About the elections in France I will refer in a separate post.

Belgrad – Tadic’s strategy may works ?

Also Serbia is to hold presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections on Sunday. Tadic’s surprise resignation in April paved the way for early elections. But, according Businesswek, “the Serbian Democratic Party may lose May 6 general elections, while its leader, President Boris Tadic, will be forced into a runoff as voters reject moves to bring the former Yugoslav republic to the European Union. As governments from Ireland to Italy fall in a wave of anger over austerity, Tadic’s strategy to link a presidential vote to general elections to help his party may have fizzled.”. The build-up to the marathon vote has been dominated by economic issues, overshadowing debates about the country’s bid to join the EU. A struggling economy, growing joblessness (Serbia is plagued by unemployment of 24% and foreign debt of 24bn euros (£19.5bn; $31.5bn) and widespread discontent over falling living standards have taken center stage in Serbia’s election campaign, pushing aside debates over the country’s EU ambitions. Although is the main priority of Serbia’s foreign policy, European Union integration was outdated and uninteresting in the election campaign, even if Serbia was declared an official candidate for EU membership in March. Another central political issue in Serbia, which has hardly been mentioned in the election campaign, is the dispute over Kosovo. Serbia still refuses to recognize the sovereignty of the breakaway province (which declared independence in 2008), but pressures are rising from the EU on this issue. Notice that most political parties agree on this position towards Kosovo. But experts believe it will reach a compromise, both leading candidates, Boris Tadic from the reformist Democratic Party and his closest rival, opposition leader Tomislav Nikolic from the nationalist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), want to steer Serbia towards the European Union. According Reuters News Agency, their parties are expected to form the strongest political groups in the future Serbian parliament.

Athena – Nothing new under the sun of Hellenic Republic

Also, the Greeks will choose Sunday between IMF-imposed austerity measures and leaving the euro. Will be the most disputed elections since 1974, and will mark a dangerous revival of extremist parties and decide the future single currency. Economic crisis and corruption among the political class have made as the surveys to show that in parliament will get about ten political parties (of the 32 formations entered in the electoral competition) from just five, at the previous election. Experts believe that the new extremist parliamentary parties will be the big winners of elections in Greece. With regard to post-election scenarios, Business Insider claims that Greece will be conducted after elections by the same coalition of conservatives and socialists, but the head will be another leader. As the threshold is 3% and competing 32 parties, many votes will dissipate, and the two big parties will get more seats than votes received would indicate. Since the restoration of the democratic regime in Greece, in 1974, conservatives and socialists were obtained with between 70 and 80% of votes, but polls now show a fall to below 40%.

UpdateFirst Official Greek Exit Polls – according to exit polls from NET TV, the results are as follows:

  • New Democracy: 17-20%
  • Pasok: 14-17%
  • In a stunner, Syrizia, or the coalition of the radical left – a vehement anti-Bailout party – gets more votes than the ruling PASOK party: 15.5%-18.5%
  • Independent Greeks: 10-12%
  • Finally, and not surprisingly in the aftermath of the French results, the ultra right Golden Dawn gets 6-8% of the vote and will make it into Parliament
Update_2: Early results in Greece’s parliamentary election suggest the two main parties have suffered dramatic losses. With 11% of the vote counted, centre-right New Democracy is in the lead with 22%, down from 33.5% in 2009. Centre-left Pasok is in second place with 16%, down from 43.9% in the last elections. Syriza, a left-wing coalition, is in third place with 15%. It could rises the instability for Greece. New Democracy may be unable to form a government, there may be calls for a fresh election and possibly even anti-bailout parties from the left and right may attempt to form a coalition.
Update_3: A new election seems increasingly likely within weeks after two days of failed efforts to reach an agreement among parties deeply divided over whether to stick to a program that saved Greece from bankruptcy but caused steep economic hardship.