10 August 2009

Passing the Buck--Pressure, Power, Procedure (EN)

Pressure--pushing down on me,
Pressing down on you--no man ask for!
Under pressure--that burns a building down,
Splits a family in two,
Puts people on streets...
So, I've been on vacation for 2 weeks, and I just managed to catch up with the news: The same bickering between the 2 parties of the governing coalition, the same incapacity to make decisions, the same worsening of economic prognoses... Actually, no news! Except that some commentators only now realize that Romania outsourced its governing to the IMF. So, what's the new angle I propose to my readers, today? I think there's too much pressure on the Executive, and that's why PM Boc and his crew are making so many mistakes, adopting extremely fragile decisions and ruling by successive flaws :-(

For the past 15 years or so, our Executive spearheaded the drive for reforms, signing agreements with various international and/or inter-governmental fora--the Council of Europe, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, NATO, the European Union... Parliament always remained in the background, ratifying various normative acts under the whip of the most prominent political leaders of the day--whether President or Prime Minister. Eventually, Parliament slid down the path of learned helplessness, never being able to exercise its oversight (or scrutiny) function, while the Cabinet amassed more and more decision-making power. Of course, the legislative tool of Cabinet Ordinances (explicitly delegated from Parliament, under the Constitution), placed in the hands of powerful politicians (such as, primarily, former PM Năstase), created the expectation that Cabinet must take the lead, and act promptly on every single problem, regardless how obscure or mundane.

Thus, PM Boc is now in position to prove himself, to meet the expectations... Hence, he feels compelled to solve everything by passing yet another Emergency Ordinance, as soon as possible, in spite of transparency procedures or regulatory impact assessments. On top of this, Parliament is split 3-ways, which means one can never plan a legislative agenda--simply because no one can control the legislative process :-( Only one solution may exist for circumventing this problem--where Parliament is too weak and incapable of scrutinizing the Executive, and Cabinet can no longer abuse Ordinances--and that's to assume responsibility, possibly by 2 September. By this procedure, Cabinet submits a Bill that can only be passed or failed by Parliament, in a plenary session, without debate. If the Bill fails, so does the Cabinet--as a result, either a new governing coalition is formed, or snap elections are called.

Now you see how the pressure is building around Mr. Boc and his Cabinet. To be frank with you, I empathize with PM Boc--but that doesn't mean I sympathize, and I most definitely don't condone this type of conduct! I suggest that the best solution is to open up the decision-making process, in order to secure public support for reforms, and then improve the management of the legislative procedures in Parliament. In other words, if PM Boc wants to escape the pressure, he should simply pass the buck and place pressure on Parliament :-) And start reforms over there, in order to increase and ensure the sturdiness of adopted measures, finally rule by law, instead of flaw--by reducing the time of legislative procedures and by enlarging/deepening the dialog with the stake-holders and end-users of every single decision.

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