Friday, March 28, 2008

Corruption Haunts Romanian Politics

romanian politics haunted by corruptionFinancial Times makes an analysis of the serious political impasse faced by Romania. In its effort to fight wide-spread high-level corruption, the public decision making process has suffered the most and has come to a deadlock. Public servants are so afraid of being subject to allegations of corruption that they’ve been abstaining from making any type of spending decisions.

Civil servants are personally liable for any spending decision they approve. That may be a sound anti-corruption measure, but it means no one takes a decision.

Blogger Kosmopolit considers that the major cause of such extreme political malfunction is Romania's outdated constitution. He argues that:
Having clear majorities is indeed desirable for the Romanian political system, but it is questionable whether the proposed electoral reform is enough to change the political landscape. What Romania really needs is a far-reaching constitutional reform that transforms the bicameral system into a unicameral one. Even the semi-presidential system as such should be revisited because clear majorities would even work better with clearly divided powers and responsibilities.

I am not sure whether the constitution is really the main factor in the political crisis in Romania. After all, the Romanian constitution is based on the French model, and can't be too wrong. However, the consequences of fighting corruption described by the Financial Times are thoughtprovoking. How does a country manage to fight high-profile corruption without interfering and/or slowing down the public decision making processes?