The year 2004 unfolds in Romania under the sign of war. Three rounds of elections, local, legislative and presidential, oppose the postcommunists (Social Democratic Party, PSD) to the anticommunists. Despite the common roots of those involved in these fierce battles, the roles they play remind the beginning of the political decade, hotly contested in Romania.
The government is aggressive to the point of being authoritarian, and its attempts in controlling the media have alienated from it everybody with a democratic mind in the country; the opposition, despite blood transfers from members of the first Petre Roman government (the two leaders of the opposition, Traian Basescu and Teodor Stolojan both served in the first National Salvation Front government) is as fierce an opposition as if radical anticommunist Christian Democrats would still be part of it (they are meanwhile struggling to meet the electoral threshold for the legislative elections after being outside Parliament since 2000).
The political debate revolves around corruption more than on substantial ideological issues. The battle is therefore about credibility: whom should the Romanians trust it would govern capturing the state less? The odds are against the current government, as its members proved they are better at it than everybody else so far. But it is not unlikely that in four years time disappointment would ride high again.
Summary and Abstracts:
1. A word from the editor
2. Explaining the end of a myth
3. Romanian local governments: the unfinished reform
4. Political institutions and the democratization of post-communist Eastern Europe
5. Social partners and captors. The role of non-state actors in economic policy-making in Eastern Europe
6. Formal and informal institutions: on structuring their mutual co-existence
A cultural aristocracy? Romanian intellectuals and their critics