Former Romanian Prime Minister, Adrian Năstase, has just been sentenced to two years of imprisonment, by a definitive decision of the highest court in Romania (ÎCCJ).
He was found guilty for illegally obtaining electoral campaign funds, although he has been repeatedly claiming his innocence.
Not since the late 1940s and 1950s, when under USSR’s boots, or since Nicolae Ceauşescu’s execution in 1989, has Romania witnessed such a controversial decision.
Neither Năstase, nor his political allies would accept the decision, unless the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ever confirms it.
By that time, he will have most probably spend his two years in prison, while most of the world will be sure of his guilt.
The length of the trial (8 years!) serves as enough ‘evidence’ for most people, either his political enemies, voters or onlookers from the EU.
Just like an imprisoned former PM in Ukraine has done nothing to improve the country’s image in Europe’s eyes, Năstase’s chains won’t bring dividends for Romania on the long term.
Symbolically, the sentence has huge significance. Chaining a demigod like Năstase appeared to be in the early 2000s is a huge blow to the perceived omnipotence of political leaders.
It’s long since the defendand’s arrogance has deprived him of any presumption of innocence, and not few would be those opening champagne bottles tonight.
One of these would surely be Năstase’s archenemy of 2004, Traian Băsescu – another character who lives under the spell of a presumption of guilt.
Irrespective of how many praises of the ‘independent Romanian judiciary’ we read in foreign media for the next days, it would be foolish to believe Băsescu has nothing to do with the decision.
In less than a year, Băsescu could be suspended by a hostile parliament, and later even put on trial just like Năstase.
Unless he manages to pulverize the former opposition – USL (= PSD + PNL + PC), already in power, before the next election (another Romanian bizarrery!).
Let us not forget that the now condemned Năstase was the PhD coordinating professor of Romania’s current Prime Minister, Victor Ponta.
Ponta had been accused of plagiarism two days before Năstase was sentenced. The court’s decison comes two days before Năstase’s 62nd birthday.
Rather than destiny’s irony, it’s a masterstoke of Băsescu.
Will Băsescu be the one who laughs last, thus laugh better?! Too bad that there’s nothing to laugh at for most Romanians...
The ruling class is as unprepared for the cataclysmic times ahead of the world as those in power in the late 1930s.
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