Saving Private Ciucă
Once in politics, installed as Prime Minister and made head of the party overnight, the great General Nicolae Ciucă shrank until he became a disciplined little soldier. A man with a sense of hierarchy, Ciucă has without blinking an eye executed the orders of President Klaus Iohannis, stood up to PSD President Marcel Ciolacu and completely deserted his position as head of the party he was supposed to lead.
Now, the impossible mission is over. The ordeal of being PM and the torture of public speaking are over.
Not a speck of Afghan dust remains of the combatant general, decorated for bravery. Instead of leading the government and the party with an iron fist, the militantly deployed soldier in the political world raised the white flag from his first days at the front. Since then, he has clumsily avoided, like a tank hit in the tracks, all the ambushes, wars and conflicts in the coalition.
He regarded Marcel Ciolacu more like his older brother, also a soldier, but a little more hardened in the disciplinary battalion called PSD. Generals like war, but the ultra-decorated former general Ciucă behaved like a Christian missionary among civilians, a bit clumsy when it came to speaking, without any oratorical talent, but with the dove of peace always on his shoulder.
Out of respect for hierarchy, the former premier Ciucă would have gone on to become Ciolacu’s subordinate in the government, a vice-premier or minister, if the party had not persuaded him to quit before he made an even bigger fool of himself. Either way the PNL has become under him a kind of messier phalanx of the PSD or, if you like, the PSD’s laughing stock.
Charismatic as a gun carriage, under the leadership of private Ciucă the PNL has lost almost half a million votes in a year. He took over the PNL at 23% in April 2022, and today he has managed to bring it down to somewhere around 18%, with the prospect of a rapid sinking under his command. Five percent in a year is over 400 thousand votes. That’s no small feat.
After the dim-witted Florin Cîțu and the insipid Alina Gorghiu, Klaus Iohannis marks a new historical failure with the military era in the PNL. Under Iohannis, the party has become a kind of testing ground for the great impostors and knaves of Romanian politics. A good president over the Liberals must necessarily be weaker than the head of state, with no opinions, no ideas, no outline. A piece of putty in the hands of others.
Recipe for guaranteed disaster. Asked what his political plans for the future are, whether he wants to run for the presidency or imagines his career elsewhere, Private Ciucă took the standing at attention position, reporting that he is standing by and awaiting further orders. „I go wherever I am needed,” he told journalists, from which it follows that politician Ciucă does not exist and never has. Like a good soldier, Ciucă has no ambitions, no autonomy and no personal plans.
He’ll be happy if the party parks him as head of the Senate and doesn’t sack him as quickly as the other PNL straw presidents have been sacked. No matter how hard Ciolacu tries to keep him alive, being the most docile liberal leader ever caught on a leash by the PSD, the guillotine of the first round of elections will behead him mercilessly.
After next year’s Euro-parliamentary elections, the political soldier will have completed his mission, and the general will be able to chew in peace on the military pension he fiercely defended against the Russian-invaded Ukraine. It is the greatest victory of his military career: blowing up the NRRP at the cost of saving special pensions.
As a politician, the former prime minister leaves no trace behind. Instead, he leaves an image drawn with sulphuric acid by the teachers who upset the timing of his resignation from the Victoria Palace and delayed the governmental rotation by almost three weeks: „By its appearance, a flower you know, The lark, by its melodious flow. Iohannis and Ciucă, by their stutter, But also by their lack of utter.”
With a plagiarism file in his army kit, Private Ciucă will not be spared the merciless verdict of next year’s four-round election. After the first resounding defeat, the Liberals will have to find someone capable of raising the flag again. This time, the ever-smaller liberal army will have to rebel and refuse the tutelage of the Cotroceni if it is to have a future.
To avoid the fate of the PNTCD, the Liberals need a real politician in charge, validated by the voters and elected for real, not elected president after a series of congressional stunts with a foregone conclusion. With soldiers, generals or other dubious civilians in charge, the PNL is slowly but surely fading into the shadow of the PSD.
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