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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Tzupy wrote:
...


If you check out the wikipedia article you just linked, you can see that you had the rule of 50% of all voters (not 50% of people who voted) since 2000. Why did you ignored it in 2007 ? That is your problem. Secondly, when you joined EU you accepted that you will have to adapt EU legislation. "Don't cry over spilled milk now" :). Anyway, if you think 50% of all registered voters is so anti-democratic, then why do you have the "50%+1 of all registered voters in the first round" rule in presidential elections ? And i could ask - you didn't notice that EU sometimes suspends voting rights in EU and/or EU funding when something unusual happens in a member country ? You forgot the EU sanctions against Austria because of FPÖ (Jorg Heider's party) ? You don't see what happens in Hungary (and there the issues are much smaller compared to impeachment of president - issues are at level of national bank independence, forced retirement for judges who reach standard retirement age etc).


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:02 am 
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I'm going ignore the dishonest arguments and to cut to the chase:
faugusztin wrote:
First of all, democracy as political system doesn't exist anywhere. Democracy will exist when each person will have the right to vote on each law change. But that won't happen, because people are stupid. Don't misunderstand me - if people would decide what should happen, then the result would be 0% taxation and huge unemployment benefits and retirement payments. The result would be total collapse of state and anarchy in few weeks to months range.

I happen to live in a country where people may vote about what happens if they care to. People vote on taxation, unemployment benefits and retirement payments. And not only about laws: executive decisions can get canned as well and you don't have to be elected or appointed to any office to propose constitutional changes. The result is more conservatism than in most other countries, not anarchy.
Ditch your anti-democratic fantasies and get a clue!


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:22 am 
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That the suspended President lied to Merkel is public knowledge in Romania, because he admitted that on TV.
His goal was to force the 50% turnout rule upon the Government (and the majority in the Parliament that supports the current government).
After that he was free to change his message to 'DO NOT VOTE', while repeating the claims of a 'coup' and threatening to punish those
responsible. He asked people to not vote, otherwise they would support the 'coup'. He asks people to not watch TV channels that oppose him.
He claimed that without him as President there would be no democracy and justice in Romania. All this from a former communist secret police
officer, I find it impossible to swallow. I haven't heard any reaction from the European Comission to his ramblings, which IMO are anti-democratic.
The conspiracy theory is that since he was Merkel's ally, no questions asked, and the new Prime minister is Hollande's ally, there was
a strong bias towards him in the EC. Of course, there's no way to prove this.

I am afraid that I can't provide links to English translations of Romanian news articles, I couldn't find any.
The articles can be pro or against him, strongly biased, and I am also strongly biased, so my translation probably wouldn't be accurate.

AFAIK the 50% rule didn't apply to the previous referendum, it seems the Wiki is wrong.
What I know is that a '50% of all voters for the impeachment' rule was adopted in February 2012, while the party supporting him still had
a majority in the Parliament, and that rule made the impeachment virtually impossible. The new majority returned to the old law before
suspending him, and then had to ammend the law to 50% for referendum validation, under EC pressure.

I don't believe that a 50% turnout is anti-democratic, IMO the higher the turnout the more democratic is the vote.
But the Venice comission recommends against the 50% turnout rule, because it can be abused.

An update: the Constitutional Court decided that the voters' number 18,292,464 is questionable and they required accurate numbers
from the Government, which has 4 weeks to get the real number. Until then the suspended President stays suspended.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:44 am 
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HFat wrote:
I happen to live in a country where people may vote about what happens if they care to. People vote on taxation, unemployment benefits and retirement payments. And not only about laws: executive decisions can get canned as well and you don't have to be elected or appointed to any office to propose constitutional changes. The result is more conservatism than in most other countries, not anarchy.
Ditch your anti-democratic fantasies and get a clue!


Yes, but you are from Switzerland. You clearly never visited a former communist country, where one can win elections with 40% of votes just by promising social benefits. You are comparing a pretty much established, conservative country (Switzerland) with something we can call Wild Wild East (central and eastern Europe), where corruption is the norm, where usually the guy who promises most wins,... Switzerland is unfortunately pretty much the exception, not the rule. Just look at your own west borders. France has few strikes every year, usually as a result of workforce or salary cuts in public sector, because the state can't handle them. But no, the employees wants to be employed by state, so "state, employ me and pay my salary !". From what ? They don't care. Look at Greece. Greece is exactly the result of the voting based on feelings, not logic. Every party in Greece overbid the other party, and the result was falsified statistics and economic meltdown of the whole country. So please, just because referendums do work in Switzerland doesn't mean, that it works everywhere else. And i will say it again, democracy as political system doesn't exists anywhere on the world. Democracy would be when each and every member of society, including kids could vote on each and every legislative change - direct democracy (in other words, democracy will exists in Switzerland, when any of 7952000 citizens of Switzerland will be able to vote on any legislative change). What we got in most countries is representative democracy, which is not a true democracy, you can only hope that your elected official will act on your best interests. And usually the only way you can "punish them" is when you vote against them in next election. Switzerland is again exception in this area, your referendum rights are much higher than pretty much anywhere else in the world - you even got your own term on wikipedia, you have a "Hybrid democracy".

Just by looking at the political parties you got in Switzerland, it seems populist parties are pretty much nowhere to be found. On other side, they are commonplace in central and eastern Europe, usually even being the parties creating the governement. I will reiterate what i said - people are stupid. We even got a saying "Who doesn't steal from the state steals from his family", which kinda describes the mentality of many citizens in this region. You can bet that first things in direct democracy would be a sudden increase in pensions (~20% of citizens in most countries, so they are huge force, plus many who are few years from pension), increase in unemployment benefits (10-15% of citizens depending on current economic climate), increase of minimal salary (lots of people at the minimal salary or close to it, 10% at least). And don't tell me they wouldn't vote for it, because they would. Hell, the populist left win party just got 44% in latest elections, which resulted in 55% of seats in parliament. So please don't tell me people are not stupid and can decide about macroeconomical decisions, when many are stupid enough to take quick loans of few hundred euros, backed by their own house in value of tens of thousand euros (and many lose their houses because they can't pay them); when a pyramid scheme had 850k victims in a 5 million country etc etc.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:48 am 
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Tzupy wrote:
his ramblings, which IMO are anti-democratic.

They're definitely anti-democratic. But at the same time democracy requires that he be allowed to say what he wants.

Tzupy wrote:
I don't believe that a 50% turnout is anti-democratic, IMO the higher the turnout the more democratic is the vote.

I understand your reasoning but it doesn't work that way in practice.
Here's an example: the last national referendum here had a 38% turnout. That's because everyone knew the outcome. Some people only vote if they feel their vote might change something so they didn't bother this time. Sometimes the turnout is even lower. Yet the will of the people was clear: over 75% of voters agreed that the law should not stand. Surely you'd agree: the more people agree, the more democratic the decision is. But when people agree, the turnout is low.
It would be anti-democratic to ignore the will of the people just because the turnout is low. You could conceivably have a rule like "if the turnout is low and the result is close, the vote must be held again next week". But if the will of the people is clear, democracy requires that it prevails.
Also, a low turnout is relative to the political culture. 50% is an arbitrary number and it's not low everywhere. It would be suited to some countries but not others.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:22 pm 
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faugusztin wrote:
You clearly never visited a former communist country

Once again, you are wrong.

faugusztin wrote:
Democracy would be when each and every member of society, including kids could vote on each and every legislative change

"including kids"? You're well on your way to defining democracy out of existence. This is dishonest, once again. And very silly as well.

faugusztin wrote:
Switzerland is again exception in this area, your referendum rights are much higher than pretty much anywhere else in the world

At the national level, yes. But other countries such as the USA have similar rights at the local and provincial level. And like I said, it's not all about referendums.
The reason why Switzerland has unusally democratic institutions is not that people are "stupid" in other coutries or the uninformed bullshit you call "macroeconomics" but rather historical issues as well as issues of war and peace (and other international conflicts). In conflicts between governments, the least democratic has have an advantage. You wouldn't necessarily want a referendum on a military alliance if your country was under threat for instance. Switzerland is for various reasons in a very unusual military and diplomatic position so that's not such a big deal.

faugusztin wrote:
Just by looking at the political parties you got in Switzerland, it seems populist parties are pretty much nowhere to be found. On other side, they are commonplace in central and eastern Europe, usually even being the parties creating the governement.

Wrong again. There are populist parties everywhere. Parties in Switzerland are not very different from the parties you'll find in neighboring countries.
The party of the PM of Romania has a counterpart in Switzerland (the second-biggest party) for instance.

faugusztin wrote:
Hell, the populist left win party just got 44% in latest elections, which resulted in 55% of seats in parliament. So please don't tell me people are not stupid

So your definition of "stupid" is someone who votes for the wrong party.
And your definition of "populist left" is membership in the 2nd Internationale. Since you say there are no populist parties in Switzerland, you'll probably be interested to know that the 2nd Internationale has been in governement for more than 50 years without interruption here.
What are you? Some kind of fascist? You're certainly no democrat.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:35 pm 
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faugusztin wrote:
Democracy would be when each and every member of society, including kids could vote on each and every legislative change

That's not democracy, that's Lord of the Flies (available in book or movie for your edification).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Flies


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:02 pm 
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HFat wrote:
So your definition of "stupid" is someone who votes for the wrong party.
And your definition of "populist left" is membership in the 2nd Internationale. Since you say there are no populist parties in Switzerland, you'll probably be interested to know that the 2nd Internationale has been in governement for more than 50 years without interruption here.
What are you? Some kind of fascist? You're certainly no democrat.


Unfortunately you are mistaking socialist parties and populist parties.

1) He promises to increase the taxes of the "rich ones" - that is if your yearly income is 33000€ before taxation, or 2750€ per month before taxation. That is insanely rich, right ? All that comes after in his 2006-2010 term he created a "millionaire tax" - that is when your monthly salary is above ~1700€ per month before taxation (~1200€ after taxation). They are insanely rich as well, right ? FYI average monthly salary in country is ~800€. The "rich people" will create companies which will exist only on paper, just to optimalize their incomes : "That car won't be his, it will be a car of his company. That computer is not his, it is the computer of his company. Look state, you can't tax him, he has only the minimal 300€ salary, he is poor. Ah yeah, he got other 40000€ from company dividends, well, yeah, you can tax them with your 25% dividend tax. A lot less than ~45-50% income tax + social system payments". So the final result of this move will be negative.
2) He promises to increase the taxation of the monopolies, huge companies and banks. All nice and good - but only a fool can think the companies will lower their profits. If you tax them 5% more, they will get their 5% more from you, their client. The "rich companies" will move their increased taxation expenses at the customers. Banks are pretty close to a cartel system, you can see that they all increase the various fees already. Monopolies have even easier job - they are monopolies after all. The only area where i can see this work are companies like Tesco, but that could just result in them leaving the market altogether, resulting in lower competition and higher prices. Again, it will result in more money coming out of pocket of public and/or decreased sales. So the final result will be negative or minimal.
3) The final result of previous 2 steps will be realization, that they can't keep their promises about no increased taxation for most of the public - because they are not only bound by their program (which majority of their voters didn't even read), but what is worse for them, they have to get under 3% GDP because Eurozone agreement requires them to.
4) He easily sacrifices the future pensions from personal pension accounts by changing the percentage which goes to state pension system (Bismarck style pyramid game), because he doesn't care about the future, he cares only about now. He doesn't care that the population is not increasing (requirement for Bismarck system, unless you increase the retirement age - which he is not willing to do), that is not his problem. It is the problem of politicians somewhere in 2030-2040, he doesn't give a damn about them. Not populist you say ?
5) Our country yearly income is only 78% of it's expenses. The current ruling party promised that they will lower expenses of the state and will lower the difference between the income and expenses. Yet what is their first things to do ? Try to exclude private companies from the health insurance system (not a problem with that), which will probably end up with ~400 million euros (3% of country yearly income) going out of country pocket to the pocket of his sponsor, who funnily enough is the current owner of the biggest private health insurance company (there is one other insurance company, but that one is very small). So he will increase various taxes, which will lower income (or money they have after paying their own expenses) of people by various means, so he can pay out his sponsor. While his promises were lowering the country expenses. If this is not populist, then what ?

And we could continue about different areas where they promise things they are simply unable to deliver, but most of the "populist" things usually revolves around economy. And considering pretty the only message they sent to people was "People need certainty" in terms of financial situation, they are a populist party. The fact that they are part of PES (European socialist party) has nothing to do with it. By the way, they only got in PES by merging with a miniature party which was part of PES.

You maybe have a different viewpoint, but my experiences with most people when it comes to politics and economics are unfortunately bad ones. For many, promising increase in salary and bashing the other party is more than enough. And yes, i will call those people stupid.

@m0002a: And what do you think (the original) direct democracy is ?

Anyway, i am out of this topic, we can't and won't solve it here.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:54 pm 
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faugusztin wrote:
@m0002a: And what do you think (the original) direct democracy is ?

What difference does it make? It is not appropriate for every citizen to vote on every issue. Even when citizens do vote, it is important to protect the rights of the minority and of individuals (where appropriate) against the wishes of the majority, and that is why the best form of government is a democratic republic.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:08 pm 
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The issues that Faugusztin has a problem with in Slovakia are probably real, and happen in Romania too.
I believe he is an anti-populist, and think of myself as anti-populist, but I disagree with some of his conclusions.
I also believe he believes that the suspended President of Romania is an anti-populist, and he's wrong.

The suspended President and the PDL who supports him belonged to the European Socialist party, and then suddenly switched to
the European People's party, while having the 'liberal' in the party's name (this comes from a PNL defection),
and the socialist rose on the party's sign. Their only true ideology is stealing, and they are good at it.
By stealing I mean that their sponsors are having lucrative contracts with central and local authorities,
which contracts are unfavourable to the citizens. In Romania we have an old saying:
'A thief not caught is a honest merchant'. Don't get me wrong, this happens in all parties, but it's most
obvious with the PDL. The problem is that since 2006 they control several key positions in justice, and
as a result there was some progress in the justice in Romania, but only against the opponents of the
suspended President or against members of the PDL which were not close to him. He and his close
supporters are untouchable, and if the justice were truly independent, they would be prosecuted too.

Today the Goverment asked local authorities to cooperate in the recounting of the voters, and those
mayors belonging to the PDL have objected to this. The suspended President threatened with jail any local
authority that cooperate with the Government in this recounting.

On Deutsche Welle I found an unbiased article and had it translated by Google translate, although the quality is questionable:

The Constitutional Court ordered the verification of voter lists, showing a welcome concern for the moral dimension of the political process.

Constitutional Court decision provides an opportunity Romanian democracy. Quickly invalidate the referendum, as foreshadowed by the analysis of surface data would be left behind a huge uncertainty. A quorum was or not really?

But the Court, which established validation condition, have an enormous charge. The quorum for the benefit of other disadvantaged camp and was therefore obliged to have more rigorous verification of how the electoral process took place. Quickly invalidate the referendum would have committed an act too obvious bias, which would have weighed heavily on his reputation. So RAC acted primarily designed to restore confidence in the ability of Romanian democracy itself.

Communication in which the Court deferred a decision on September 12 contains several appendices that provide everyone the opportunity to check the correctness of this decision. There are four documents from the National Institute of Statistics, the Ministry of Interior and the Permanent Electoral Authority.

INS explains briefly that he can not participate in clarifying the situation. In the document sent to the Court, President INS shows that only have preliminary data that does not allow distinctions based on the criterion of age (and in the alternative of voting rights), but no definitive data published only in 2013 did not allow it.

Also confirmed the first instance that the lists contain 18,292,514 people voting, but in a second document expresses doubts about the accuracy, especially for the dead and gone abroad without their be regulated legal status.

But the broader comments and make them better informed the Permanent Electoral Authority. The Constitutional Court sent the document, EPA states that, according to own investigations in 2011, lists from Romania are not updated and that they typically contain many errors, mainly due to lack of communication between municipalities and institutions. AEP states that last year was a review in 1241 by municipalities (out of 3187) and found many errors: electoral lists kept sloppy, outdated lists, plus more indelible categories of people: persons sentenced to loss electoral rights, dead people, people who have renounced their Romanian citizenship, persons who have changed residence. AEP states that all irregularities were reported to the competent local authorities, but it can not intervene directly in the lists.

It is clear therefore that he has before him a vast construction site. Arguably, at least from this point of view, the ruling is welcome.

Of political uncertainty kept but that still blocks any political development. Economy might suffer some negative shocks itself, because capital is the most fearful animal in the world and flees at the first sign of instability. It is true that economic news is instrumentalized copy selected to deter enthusiasm that animated popular referendum to dismiss the President and to create a state of panic.

But, beyond real negative economic effects of political uncertainty, would be to show that public life can not be reduced to its economic size. Comments of those who pull the alarm signals are sometimes justified, but they risk falling into a kind of economism, similar biologismului that the human life in terms of strict his animality. The policy is comprehensive and can not ignore the moral relationship between rulers and ruled. Therefore we can say that the Constitutional Court to order a review of the appropriateness referendum just answer this compelling spiritual needs that democracy manifests traumatized.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Everyone here seems to have a different view of what "populism" means in political terms.

I will no doubt disagree with the wiki link below (which I have not read).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populism

I consider "populism" to be the following.

Selling ideas and possibly ideologies to the voters that the vast majority of people favour e.g. the "popular choice", knowing that these promises are;

A.) Likely to get you into power.
B.) Not particularly good for the country as a whole (this should not be confused with "not being good for the majority of voters in a direct sense", if you don't understand re-read from the top).
C.) The promises that got the party into power are often not possible to achieve in any real sense.

Let us look at a couple of recent examples.

The last Labour government in the UK (that was in power for 13-years), won 3 elections and managed to bankrupt the country to get into (and stay in) power by promising a huge raft of "populist" ideas.

There has been a row over "tax for rich people" going on in the UK for more than 2-years. Labour when they were in power (not long before they were deposed) did a classic populist manoeuvre, they increased the tax rate for very-high-earners (£150,000) from 40% to 50%. The tax row basically consisted of the replacement government (main political party Conservatives, small political party Liberal Democrats) arguing in public about what the tax rate should be, the Tories wanted it reduced to 40%, the Lib Dems wanted at least 50% and Labour were using this argument to gain political ground because it was "populist". In the end the tax rate was reduced to 45%. There is no evidence at all that it increased the actual tax take for the government, and many people believe that 40% would actually increase growth because entrepreneur would have more money to re-invest in business which generates more tax revenue that taking the entrepreneur directly.

I am sure that one of the things that helped Francois Hollande win the election in France was because of his "populist" 75% tax on the very-high-earners, our current Prime Minister instantly asked any very-high-earners to more to the UK because they will be taxed less and to set up business in this country, which will be good for the UK but is certainly not "populist".

Another French example of "populist" politics again courtesy of Hollande is to "reduce" the retirement age for some people - its a great way to secure a lot of votes bit obviously hits (B) on the nose whilst actually costing the French workforce lots more money whilst reducing the workforce - genius idea to get votes, but this is a bad policy for France as a whole.

Now anyone can argue that the leading goal of politicians is to get into power, and to do so you must win votes, meaning that you have to be popular - but you also have to be realistic.

The current UK government have cut lots of taxpayer jobs in the NHS, police services and many other areas to reduce the costs, they have increased taxation for everyone, they are reducing benefits and they have/are changing the pension age for everyone in the country as well as reducing a number of special pensions for tax-payer funded jobs, e.g. doctors, nurse, police etc - none of these things are what you would call "populist", yet they got into power because the last "populist" government bankrupted the UK to the point that 1 in every 4 pounds the government was spending was to pay for loans - all of these tax rises and pension reductions helped Labour argue their "populist" claims about the tax rate for very-high-earners.

Populist politics will often win votes and get idiots into power who often do the whole country harm rather than good and it usually comes back to bite people in the arse.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:21 am 
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How about a call people I disagree with for whatever reason monarchists and ignore what the Wikipedia says it means? Makes for great conversation.


Tzupy wrote:
The issues that Faugusztin has a problem with in Slovakia are probably real

They're dishonest fabrications. It can be most easily seen by looking into this tidbit:
stupid wrote:
they only got in PES by merging with a miniature party which was part of PES.

"they" is a split from one of the two Slovak 2nd Internationale parties (and not a small one!), meaning that the founders belonged to the 2nd Internationale to begin with. The split was successful and absorbed the old party, as well as the other (much smaller) 2nd Internationale party.
This is irrelevant anyway because "they" were also explicitely re-admitted to the 2nd Internationale long after the mergers. That's because "they" had been expelled, which goes to show their political orientation was under scrutiny and that, while the 2nd Internationale is a very weak organisation, membership is not quite meaningless.


Tzupy wrote:
Today the Goverment asked local authorities to cooperate in the recounting of the voters, and those
mayors belonging to the PDL have objected to this. The suspended President threatened with jail any local
authority that cooperate with the Government in this recounting.

This sillyness ought to show once and for all that this 50% turnout rule is unworkable in practice. It's hard enough to avoid messy public controversies with the potential for economic disorder and violence when the voters more or less evenly divided and fraud is suspected with regard to the actual votes!


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:07 am 
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There are genuine reasons for having a 50% voter turnout rule. In reduces the likelihood of a result being skewed. The best example of this I see is in trade unionism when a a vote is called on inductrial action. The turnouts are generally low and those who do vote are the more radical (workshy) members, hence making it more likely that a strike is called. Similarly in any political vote like this you would have those who are politically active voting, massively skewing the result.

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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:24 am 
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Yes, there are genuinely antidemocratic reasons to apply arbitrary turnout requirements inconsistently, namely to advance special interests.
How about using turnout requirements for votes to *stop* strikes? Then the people scum call "workshy" could decline to vote, enabling strikes could continue past the time most workers want them to stop.
If these silly turnout requirements were used systematically, European treaties would never be approved in referendums (the opponents could simply boycott the poll) and quite a few countries would have no governments or at least no representatives to the European Parliament.
But as long as long as the only time the will of the people is stymied is when your favorite brand of authoritarian politicians are in favor of supressing it, that's fine I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:21 am 
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Quote:
Yes, there are genuinely antidemocratic reasons to apply arbitrary turnout requirements inconsistently, namely to advance special interests.
How about using turnout requirements for votes to *stop* strikes? Then the people scum call "workshy" could decline to vote, enabling strikes could continue past the time most workers want them to stop.
If these silly turnout requirements were used systematically, European treaties would never be approved in referendums (the opponents could simply boycott the poll) and quite a few countries would have no governments or at least no representatives to the European Parliament.


A strike that goes against the national interest, and is carried out by people who are very well paid and have a job that most people envy because they have the power to cause chaos SHOULD have minimum requirements to go on strike.

e.g. Tube Drivers who wanted to go on strike on the eve of the London Olympics because they wanted more money to do their job because the Olympics are on - its not a difficult job to do and they get paid lots and lots of money - yet they can and do get away with strikes quite often because when they do go on strike they cause utter chaos and cause a loss in the whole UK economy due to lost working hours - this is called a "ransom". The last strike that they wanted to take on the eve of the Olympics was voted for by 12% of the workforce - yet a strike is called. That is insane - fortunately the strike managed to be called off in time. If there was a minimum of 50% of votes given then most of these strikes would never become a threat, in this instance a little over 50% of those who actually voted said "yes" to the strike, but only 20% of the total number of people who could have voted did, hence the 12% figure. The way that trade unions work is that they put lots of pressure one evryone in the trade union to do what the vote says regardless of how many actually voted for strike action.

Personally I think that the answer here is driver-less tube trains, then the bastards wont be able to phuck everyone up on a regular basis, and for other trade unions they need to have a minimum voter turnout percentage of say 40% and then need to get 50% or more to agree to strike action.

And if anyone thinks that my stance is "undemocratic", my answer is that it is totally undemocratic (and unethical) to hold people to ransom for yet another pay rise when they are already paid 50% more than the national average.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:39 am 
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andyb wrote:
A strike that goes against the national interest
...
my answer is that it is totally undemocratic (and unethical) to hold people to ransom for yet another pay rise when they are already paid 50% more than the national average.

Then get laws passed against strikes which go against the national interests, involving workers paid 50% more than the national average and so on and see how that fares in practice. It's not like this is unheard of but push it too far and people will resort to illegal strikes and violence. It should be possible to find a balance.
Instead, you're talking about subverting an unrelated democratic process with uninformed, arbitrary and inconsistent requirements and justifying it with childish word games (that the same word "democracy" is used to describe decision-making in a a union and in a whole country doesn't mean that it's undemocratic for different groups to make different decisions!).
I feel sorry I have to point stuff like this out. I'm done answering off-topic comments which do not rise above this level. But the reason I posted this one is that the same applies to the situation in Romania: if you want to prevent referendums against heads of state, be honest and abolish them. Or amend the law with more practical and less perverse hurdles than turnout requirements. About that...

andyb wrote:
a minimum voter turnout percentage of say 40% and then need to get 50% or more to agree to strike action

At least you're not fetichising 50%, Andy. I guess you see how easy a 50% turnout requirement is to game. I'll give you that.
But while you're at it, how about sane requirements like ignoring the turnout and requiring at least 20% of members to vote for the proposal? Your idea also requires at least 20% of members to vote for it, but does it in a clumsy way which encourages people not to vote against the proposal which means among other thing that you can't use the result of the vote to figure how popular the proposal really is. It does matter, you know. If the proposal passed with 55%, people would be more willing to compromise than if it passes with 95% for instance.
And about those 20%, you've got to look at the reason why turnout is low. To go back to the strike example, if it's because some categories of workers (say people with entry-level temp jobs) aren't involved for instance, requirements such as these risk causing unions to kick out whole classes of workers. You've got lots of potentially perverse effects. Down the road, your idea could easily lead to more corportatism and not less!
I'd be a lot heathier to figure out why turnout is low and encourage more people to participate voluntarily.
And in any case these requrements are not the EU's business or anyone else to decide but the business of the people who decided on their own constitution/bylaws/whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:35 am 
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Quote:
Then get laws passed against strikes which go against the national interests, involving workers paid 50% more than the national average and so on and see how that fares in practice.


Its already being discussed by politicians, but as yet is not a formal proposition, and has a huge amount of public support - the money they are being paid just rubs peoples noses in it, and is evidence of these kinds of strikes being nothing more than a ransom.

Quote:
It's not like this is unheard of but push it too far and people will resort to illegal strikes and violence. It should be possible to find a balance.


Illegal strikes can lead to people being sacked, they are called "wildcat" strikes rather than the officially sanctioned ones that are done by ballot and often have a very low turnout. The ballance would obviously be found by changing the law as I have suggested because people would either shut-up and get on with their job, get sacked for a wildcat strike, or quit, either way there are hundreds of people willing to step into those shoes to do that job without wanting to go on strike at all because they are now in a privileged position.

Quote:
Instead, you're talking about subverting an unrelated democratic process with uninformed, arbitrary and inconsistent requirements and justifying it with childish word games (that the same word "democracy" is used to describe decision-making in a a union and in a whole country doesn't mean that it's undemocratic for different groups to make different decisions!).


As far as I am concerned a "vote" or a "ballot" can be undemocratic for many reasons, such as peoples votes being discarded, damaged or tampered with, the threat of violence or reprisals of any form (that often happens in Trade Unions in the UK -the threat of reprisals that is), or a very low turnout due to ignorance or apathy.

And yes I do believe that apathy is a serious threat to democracy to the point where I believe that there should be some kind of voting system devised to count every possible vote whether someone actually votes or not, or perhaps to pay people to cast their vote or to punish them for not doing so, but still allowing for people to cast a "none of the above" vote. I know that some countries do this and that many people think that this is undemocratic in itself - however you only have to look at etailers to read customer reviews on items that they bought - apathy is right there on display, the general trend is that people will only "bother" to cast their vote on the quality of a product if it is either very good, or very bad, leaving the vast majority of people not bothering to tell everyone what they think of the product. However if you look a little deeper at the results and the reasons for peoples reviews, there is a huge trend towards negative results being posted for obvious reasons.

This is exactly the same with voter apathy, the majority of people who don't bother to vote usually fall into one of four camps, they either think that their vote is worthless, they already believe that there will be an outright winner so that their vote wont change the outcome, or they don't care, or they don't see any differences between the voting options.

If everyone were to cast a vote (with one of the voting options "none of the above") the vast majority of people who fall into the "worthless vote", or "there is already an obvious winner" will put down an actual valid vote that they believe in, those who don't care will either put an X in any random box, pick someone for fun, or simply vote for "none of the above", those who cant tell the difference between the parties will likely spend a bit more time and make a decision or they will vote for "none of the above".

The end result would be much more accurate, and you would also get a far more accurate figure for the number of people who cant or wont vote.

If a similar method was to be used for some of the more aggressive trade unions that last vote for the train strike would have never taken place because the vast majority of people would have voted "no" to industrial action (a strike) - this would have increased productivity of the UK and as a whole our nation would be better off.

Quote:
Or amend the law with more practical and less perverse hurdles than turnout requirements. About that...


I have nothing at all against having a turnout target, so long as it is reached each any every time - the only way to do that is some form of compulsory voting - and in the case of some countries having an accurate number of legitimate voters (e.g. no fraud).


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:07 am 
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I won't restate what I've said already.

andyb wrote:
I have nothing at all against having a turnout target, so long as it is reached each any every time - the only way to do that is some form of compulsory voting - and in the case of some countries having an accurate number of legitimate voters (e.g. no fraud).

If it's reached every time then it's not a pretext for annulling votes (and you might as well drop the requirement). I'm fine with that. You might not however because you might discover that the higher turnout does not actually make decisions swing your way (it wouldn't have changed the result in Romania for instance)...

I don't think any country has an accurate number actually. Every country has fraud and compulsory voting is an additional incentive.
Votes in assemblies where people know each other are a different deal but when it comes to voting at the national level and stuff, if you want a truely representative opinion, it'd be more efficient and more secure to randomly select a fairly small panel of voters than to make everyone vote. As a bonus, you'd also have the opportunity to force the panel to actually hear everyone's arguments and to think about their choice.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:19 pm 
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An update: during the last days tens of thousands of people in Romania have been harrassed by Prosecutors
sent by the cronies of the still suspended President. Those people have been questioned if they voted, why did they vote,
an how did they vote. Sometimes the Prosecutors were accompanied by members of the PDL (who filed fraud complaints).
The Prosecutors have little evidence of fraud, but they are trying to persuade people to confess of being 'influenced to vote'.
FYI the Romanian law of political parties asks parties to urge people to come and vote. In theory the boycott is against the
law, but there's no sanction for boycott. As a result of the harrassment by the Prosecutors many people start to think that
voting can get them in trouble and probably won't vote anymore. This abuse by the Prosecutors has happened in the countryside
for now, mainly in villages who had a high turnout. However, in villages where a PDL mayor threatened the people with withdrawal
of social benefits if they dare to vote, the Prosecutors are absent. Ironically, some people who feared they mayors went and voted
in nearby villages on supplemental lists, causing an abnormally high turnout and attracting the Prosecutors in those villages.

The still suspended President has shown that he has more power than the Parliament and Government, who are unable to stop
the abuse by the Prosecutors. FYI the suspended President has appointed lots of Prosecutors in the 8 years that he was in office.
In his terms, he 'made them Prosecutors'. The loss of independent justice in Romania has happened gradually, and with the blessing
of the European Commision, who praised his accumulation of personal power at the expense of democracy.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:57 pm 
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Hm, reading this article from German news magazine Der Spiegel, I get a different view.

Apparently, the chief justice of the Romanian supreme court/constitutional court, Augustin Zegrean, has called on the European Commission, because the Ponta government is putting a lot of pressure on the court.

Also, what you describe as meddling by the suspended president's party, sounds like the exact opposite in the article. It says that the Ponta government tries to lower the number of potential voters, so the referendum turnout gets over 50%. They tried to subtract ficticious deceased people as well as Romanians working abroad. And the DA's Office has opened investigations into this.

Now I know you're going to say that the chief justice and the DA are just marionettes put in place by that ominous president, but this all sounds mighty fishy to me.

As bad as some things about the European Commission seem, I don't think they have a secret agenda to end democracy in the EU or Romania.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:50 pm 
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I read a lot of blatant lies about Romania in the German press, so I don't care what Der Spiegel writes.
The President of the Constitutional Court was appointed by the still suspended President, along with 3 others out of 9.
One judge is from the UDMR (Hungarian minority) and usually favors the suspended President, for a price.
The remaining 4 judges oppose the suspended President, but one of them is allegedly blackmailed to switch sides.
To reach a decision regarding the referendum, a 6 to 3 majority is required.

People in Romania saw that the suspended President is the one who successfully put pressure on the Constitutional Court.
His public demands were granted twice by the Court. The Government tries to find out how many people should have been
on the permanent electoral lists when the referendum was held. The updated number should be available on the 21st August.
When the numbers will become available I'll post how many dead people, permanently departed, etc were on the lists.

For now, only the numbers resulting from the referendum are clear:
8.46 million voted, 7.4 million for impeachment, 0.94 million against impeachment.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:03 pm 
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British newspapers corroborate the reporting of Der Spiegel. I don't speak Romanian and I won't learn to do so, but trusting that various Western newspapers are having it wrong because some dude without credentials said so on the internet is a little too much for me.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:29 pm 
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The article you linked is so 'unbiased' that it only quoted staunch supporters of the suspended President.
They represent only 12% of the Romanian people, while the other 88% are silenced in the article, that's fair isn't it?
Since I don't believe that the German press is incompetent, the article is unfair because they were ordered
to write it this way, or because money changed hands.
The truth is that Angela Merkel, JM Barroso and Wilfried Martens should be ashamed of supporting a dicktator (pun intended).
If he returns to power, those who supported him won't be embarrassed, because he controls a large part of the the justice system.
But if he goes away, the gullibility or bribing of Western officials and press will eventually be revealed, and might be embarrassing for them.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:50 pm 
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Tzupy can you provide a link to a news story in Romania that backs up what you say, Google translate will do the rest.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:05 am 
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Tzupy wrote:
The article you linked is so 'unbiased' that it only quoted staunch supporters of the suspended President.
They represent only 12% of the Romanian people, while the other 88% are silenced in the article, that's fair isn't it?


As I understand it's 88% of 46%, so 40% are "silenced" in this article. Also, the article mentions that the Romanian system is corrupted throughout, including the president. That all sides are basically a Junta that tries to shake off the country. No offense.

Quote:
because they were ordered to write it this way, or because money changed hands.


The same with the Financial Times and The Guardian? Because that's how it works in Germany and Britain?

Quote:
If he returns to power, those who supported him won't be embarrassed, because he controls a large part of the the justice system.
But if he goes away, the gullibility or bribing of Western officials and press will eventually be revealed, and might be embarrassing for them.


Sure. You don't sound unreasonable at all.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:36 am 
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Since the abuse by the Prosecutors is kind of old news in Romania, it is shown on several TV channels and there aren't many
new reports in the press, I could find only some articles commenting this (but I doubt Google translate will be accurate):
http://www.cotidianul.ro/care-este-adev ... or-191773/
http://www.luju.ro/dezvaluiri/eveniment ... -sa-convoa

@tim851: you don't realize how effective was the disinformation campaign launched by Romanian secret services in support of the suspended President.
Unfortunately this was probably at the expense of Romanian taxpayers, because 'persuading' Western officials and press is hugely expensive.

PS. I understand now why tim851 is skeptical about my post on the abuse by the Prosecutors upon voters.
The news is completely absent from international media, looks like it was boycotted?
'Pussy riot' conviction in Russia by a dicktatorial regime (pun intended again) got plenty of attention though.
The article in Der Spiegel referred to an older news, about the prosecution of those 'guilty' of casting a doubt on the 18.292 million voters number.
The suspended President designated on TV those 'guilty', the next days they were prosecuted. That's 'independent justice' in the eyes of the EC.
As a result of the doubt on the 18.292 million number the Constitutional Court asked the Government to verify the accuracy of the number, which
refers to people present on the permanent electoral lists. Initially the Court gave the Government time until the 31st of August, then cut it to the
21st August, at the request of the suspended President. So the Government had to work harder and possibly sloppier. Anyway, the PDL mayors
refused to cooperate in this verification of the permanent electoral lists, claiming that their numbers are already accurate.
A quick note about the President of the Constitutional Court: he has a brother, who is involved in a corruption scandal, worth millions of euros, but
it's only in the press, as long as the Prosecutors loyal to the suspended President don't dare to bother him.

PS2. I eventually found an English on-line article about the abuse, but it's not from a highly regarded site:
http://www.newsareweird.com/medieval-ro ... referendum


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:31 am 
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As I already mentioned, today the Government has shown the numbers resulting from the verification
of the accuracy of the initial number of 18.292 million potential voters.
Those numbers shown are:
34,654 dead, without the right to vote, etc
512,379 had expired ID cards (and temporarily had no right to vote at the referendum)
3,052,397 Romanians living and working outside the country
I have to add that the local authorities were supposed to properly update the lists, at least in what concerns
the 34,654 which were found to be dead or without rights.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:45 am 
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As previously expected, the 6 to 3 majority in the Constitutional Court was achieved, the one judge
who was blackmailed has switched sides and the suspended President struck a deal with the UDMR for the vote of another judge.
The result is that the Court invalidated the referendum and the suspended President will return to office soon.
However, this means that the worst of the crysis is yet to come, because he is going to exert revenge against his political
opponents, and it seems the European Commision will support him no matter what he'll do.
Until now he used transcriptions of illegal phone intercepts that were tampered with and leaked to the press to undermine
his political opponents, but if he knows that the EC will let him do whatever he wants, he can arrest all who oppose him.
The public opinion in Romania is undecided for now about what's next, but some call for a new Revolution.

A conspiracy theory that has gained popularity lately is that the EC (or Germany) experimented on Romania the gradual transition to
a police state, who's leader would obey the EC and in return he'll be let to exercise power undemocratically.

I hope that Angela Merkel and Barroso will be 'punished' to shake his hand in public, whenever he'll meet them at Brussels.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Update: to add insult to the injury, on the 1st of September, the now returned to office President's daughter got married.
You can check her on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_B%C4%83sescu
The wedding had 800+ guests, many of them white collar mafia, who are supporting her father, and resulted in an estimated
wedding gift (cumulative) of 500,000 to 2,000,000 euros. Since she had problems justifying her bank accounts and houses,
this wedding gift will give her the opportunity to look honest.
For those who don't know, the President himself was involved (together with others) in corruption scandals worth over
1 billion euros, but the Prosecutors he appointed have 'cleaned' him. Despite this, he's strongly supported by the
European Commisioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, who welcomed the 'failure of a parliamentary putsch'.

I accidentally found out that the presence of dead voters on electoral lists is not just a Romanian problem, it happens in the USA too.
Apparently in the whole USA there could be about 1 million dead on voter lists.


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 Post subject: Re: European Commission against democracy in Romania
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:31 am 
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Who even believes true democratic principles and methods are key points and issues in EU should re-check their medications. Anyone who bothers read history and such, know that EU lives now phase death of democracy and birth of Plutocrastic power in likeness of old Soviet Union in some terms and some terms something we've never seen before. Whatever is certain though, after banking crisis is over, democracy is something that we will be lacking in future Europe. Its 30's all over again. Romania is just diversion for EU. But general way things go, we see alot less democracy and civil rights in Europe in order to "fight the crisis at the hand".

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