Between 1 – 24 November 2019, GlobalFocus Center, in cooperation with MEMO 98, monitored 102 public Facebook accounts of political parties, candidates, politicians, media, and other influential actors involved in the presidential election. Analysis observed 168 posts dedicated to disinformation in relation to the presidential elections by various accounts, especially by media and influencers.
By Veronica Anghel | Bologna
In assessing the state of liberal democracy in contemporary Europe, significant scholarly and public attention has been paid to the role of leaders. Post-Communist countries in particular are often the focus of scholars who announce a ‘democratic backsliding’ engineered by populist ‘strongmen’. This article suggests that in consolidating EU democracies, such attention is disproportionate in reference to the actual de-democratising effect of the emerging ‘strongmen’. It draws attention to the systemic conditions that allow such leaders to surface, and focuses on state capture (the extraction of private benefits from the state by incumbent officeholders) as a joint-venture practice that precedes and outlives individual political lives and acts as a brake on further democratisation.
By Sidonia Bogdan | Bucharest
Anti-graft efforts are a must for all EU states and Romania has achieved remarkable progress in its fight against this scourge. Nonetheless, it has been a bumpy ride and Romania can become a textbook example of how hard it can be to implement such a strategy at state level. Strengthening institutions, steadily promoting uncompromised magistrates in key positions, fighting back against political pressure on the judiciary and a keen eye for always respecting human rights are vital elements for the health of this process.
By Codru Vrabie | Bucharest
Since the early 2000s, the influential heads of the Romanian executive have attempted to amass more power. Former PM Năstase (2001-04), former President Băsescu (2005-14, especially in partnership with PM Boc, in 2009-11)
and former PM Ponta (2012-15) sought to either bypass the legislature, or to subordinate the judiciary. By trial and error a strategy emerged, to the apparent benefit of the ruling Social-Democrats’ current chairman Liviu Dragnea (since 2015).