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  Nr. 4251 de vineri, 6 iunie 2008 
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EDITORIAL
Liberals matter
Due a score of 20% of the political votes in the local elections, the Liberals are surprisingly well as far as the coming parliamentary elections are concerned. As for the political combinations to determine the future government, they are also well. Why is this surprising? Because after four years of governing in minority, the PNL (National Liberal Party) was standing all odds to become not only the target of the other political groups, but also a source of votes for the latter. This is why there were political analysts to keep on warning that the Liberals could share the Christian-Democrats' fate and no longer be a parliamentary party. It was normal for the other parties to try to displace as much as possible from the Liberals' electorate. The presidential party managed it, but to an insignificant extent. The surprise the party led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu made during the local elections has overthrown the plans of some politicians and the estimations of some pollsters. The most optimistic ones were announcing a score 6-7% smaller than the real one. The Liberal electorate was there and the number of such electors can even improve.
Given these, the PNL is turning into an eligible party and a key party to the socialist left, that is the PSD (Social-Democrat Party), and also to the presidential party, the PD-L (Democrat-Liberal Party). Although rated with 30% of the total number of votes, the latter parties will be unable to take over the political power without the Liberals' support, no matter the ways these two parties are going this summer and this autumn. The PNL has now got an excellent position because of the 20% of the electoral mass and because of its position on the political map, the right center position. It is much more difficult for the PSD and the PD-L to explain to their own electors a possible alliance with a political group on the other side of the map. It is much easier when such an alliance is made with a party that has got a somehow similar ideology. What does this mean? That a future PSD-PD-L coalition is almost out of question (almost, because nothing is impossible in Romania), whereas a PSD-PNL or a PD-L-PNL coalition is predictable. As we can notice, since Romanian society is split between the socialists and Traian Basescu's adepts, the PNL seems likely to be the only group to be represented in all the scenarios on a future government.
Who will the Liberals choose for partner in an alliance? And when? When Traian Basescu decided to turn the Democrat Party, a social-democrat group, into a right people's party, he started from the assumption that this was an empty road, since the Liberals were always close to the centre. It is just the Romanian right has got to wait, if it wants to reach real majority. Until then the left and the left centre will dominate one more electoral cycle at least in terms of the electorate. While trying to displace the Liberal side and because of failing to cause a severe split, Traian Basescu became the main enemy of the PNL. And the differences between the PNL and the PSD faded away. Therefore an alliance with the PSD is better rated in estimations.
Many a time have the top leaders of the PD-L and Traian Basescu denied any future alliance with the Liberals, since the latter are headed by Calin Popescu Tariceanu. Due to the surprisingly good results in these elections, the latter politician's position has consolidated significantly. And a rebellion within the PNL is unlikely. Since they can't fix Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the presidential side can but buy him. And the price can consist only in one more mandate as PM. The question is whether he agrees or not and whether the PNL puts up with it or not.
In case of an alliance with the PSD meant to get Traian Basescu stuck, it would become official before the parliamentary elections or Traian Basescu should be suspended next winter. Otherwise, he would push the constitutional limits to make a minority PD-L government.
Sorin ROSCA STANESCU 
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