Union for Reconstruction of Romania - URR
Uniunea pentru Reconstrucția României - URR
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The Union for the Reconstruction of Romania - URR

Preliminary Remarks

The URR doctrine is a center-right one, combining the tenets of two classic ideologies: Christian Democracy and Liberalism. This ideological mix can be explained primarily by the demands of the internal political context. The particular situation of the transition from communism to democracy requires certain strategies that are not necessarily defined in terms of competition among classic ideologies. There are many decisions that were reluctantly taken or not taken at all, decisions regarding the mere functioning of the democratic system, regardless of the point of view it is seen from, liberal, social democrat or Christian democrat. To make such decisions, which are highly indispensable to the functioning of a normal society, an ideologically pure doctrine is not necessary. The fact that these decisions were postponed for a long time is not the result of a commitment to ideological values and principles, disputed as they might be, but due to a vicious pattern of political practice, which the URR strongly disagrees with.


Secondly, the political role of ideologies has dramatically diminished all over the world, especially after the fall of communism as a pure and absolute ideology, assuming the function of changing reality in a discretionary way. Today, the essential principle followed by political parties all over the world towards which Romania is leaning, is pragmatism. This means the adoption of policies and micro-policies that responds better to concrete, exact problems arising from the new social and cultural realities regardless of the ideological orientation that could be associated with them. Even if we are far from the so called "post materialistic" society of the developed countries and although we have our own specific problems, it is still quite obvious that we should lean towards the same pattern of political strategies that takes their inspiration from various ideological sources. This is imperative precisely because they want nothing more than to be more receptive towards the different needs of different social groups, having at the same time as first objective the involvement of citizens in the decision-making process.


As a matter of fact, nowhere in the world, including Romania, have the democratic parties of the past tried to unconditionally impose their ideologies despite the interests of those they were representing and, in general, despite the interests of the society. History of modern politics involves a long story of doctrine hybridization and adjusting practical action to present needs; many times conservative politicians supported liberal principles, or liberals promoted social welfare decisions. What is important is that the basic objectives of the society (and the polls show that these general objectives of democracy and of market economy are identified as important by the majority of the electorate) are reached as a result of an efficient act of government. Unfortunately, previous governments have not come close to this, let alone succeeded in achieving such results.


Therefore, the URR doctrine orientation can be summarized in five main tenets, each one composed of certain ideological attributes. Some like private ownership, individual responsibility or initiative equally characterize the two main orientations of the center-right, with insignificant differences. Others principles, such as pragmatism, subsidiarity, direct democracy, pluralism or tolerance are tending towards one of the two ideological directions, while having at the same time a clear connection to the other. Therefore, in the final profile they together compose a coherent, center-right ideological profile. Meanwhile, all these attributes, with no exception whatsoever, express those essential European values that lie at the very foundation of the political, social and economic pattern, the strengthening of which we want to achieve in Romania.


Pragmatism and Subsidiarity


The first major tenet includes the attributes of political pragmatism and of effective subsidiarity.


Pragmatism refers to the exact type of politics that is results-oriented and less concerned about the ideological purity of the solutions it proposes. As pragmatism is a central value of the URR, we must take responsibility for the serious problems confronting Romania and promote those solutions that can be most efficient, without feeding the illusion that they can be solved overnight using some clever emergency ordinances, or some well-controlled press responses.


The principle of subsidiarity considers the fact that true prosperity and social justice can never materialize from top to bottom; they cannot be 'given' by the government to the 'population'. They have to be supported by everyday practices at the basic levels of society, to be created and sustained continuously at the level of the smallest local communities. The true performance of the democracy is created (and can also be evaluated) only at this level; this is not a simple task, because the subsidiarity, in order to be functional, needs a high degree of political participation, which does not exist now. That is why effective subsidiarity represents an essential strategy and at the same time a long-term objective for URR.


Community and Tradition


A second tenet includes the attributes of strong community and the one of traditional values.


One of the first priorities of Romanian society should be the rebuilding of powerful, functional communities, but not of the amorphous community created by the communist system, which was only based on the solidarity of survival. The community that URR wants to develop must be founded on real cohesion and solidarity, which would allow for a fast and efficient materialization of the interests of the majority, as well as the protection of those who have special needs, because they are in special situations. The community must offer, as much as possible, a better equality of opportunity; not to homogenize society, but rather to create the possibility for everyone to benefit as much as they can from their skills (mainly through education, but also through medical assistance, social assistance etc). Family plays an important role within society, as liaison between individuals and society; the family should be, in general, the smallest and at the same time the most functional "community", the "brick" for larger communities. As an extra, the family also has special responsibilities regarding the huge effort of reforming the social and political system (for example in education, in adjusting to new conditions etc), and that is why it must enjoy special attention.


The idea of traditional values refers to finding those flexible and creative ways of preserving Romanian traditions. The cultural forms in which our traditions can be found should be preserved as such, as part of the collective memory. However, since nothing is stagnating in the world we live in, the spirit itself that created these traditions keep on growing towards new forms of creation. It is important to note that Romanian traditions do not limit themselves to folklore, as they are usually thought of. We have traditions in modern culture, as we have in industry; all these have to be preserved as such, in their historic forms, cultivated and developed further. The URR thinks of history in the first place as motivation for future achievements, and not a mere source of self-flattery or solace, or an escape from the hardships of present life. At close scrutiny, one would find that our history offers us models of action; it offers at the same time reasons for being proud, moments of glory, as well as tragic moments that should not be repeated under any condition.


The URR stands firmly for respecting the laws and for their enforcement under perfectly equal conditions between citizens. There are, still, certain functions that laws cannot fulfill, such as offering patterns of thought and behavior. In general, laws should forbid actions proven to be harmful for individuals or for the society and not force citizens to do things considered at that moment to represent the moral good. This is where the essential role of tradition intervenes. Far from having a mere decorative function, it offers models of thought and action. Only with this basis of traditions can one act and think freely, in a way that solely represents him. Tradition is the one thing that offers substance and continuity to our life within society, and is the necessary background to every individual existence. In this respect, there is a special chapter of traditions, namely Christian values. These are essential in their quality as the primary support for morality for a large majority of Romanians. Christian values have an essential role in the development of the young, and in creating more lasting relationships within our community.


Democracy and Leadership


The third tenet of the doctrine is the one defined by the attributes of direct democracy and team leadership.


Direct democracy can function on a national level, as well as on a local level, and it can manifest itself in two ways. First of all, it can manifest itself by referendum and consultation of all citizens that have the right to vote; secondly, it manifests itself through initiatives the electorate proposes for adoption when they consider it necessary. The URR proposes the introduction and the reasonable use of the forms of direct democracy, especially of imposed public consultations. If their frequency surpasses, in a significant manner, the level of political participation the society can offer, then a reverse phenomenon of distancing the citizens from the political process can appear. Direct democracy is also an essential indicator of the level of evolution and function of a democratic political system. It is a way of improving the performance of this system, but primarily it is a strategic objective whose achievement depends on many factors (high political attendance, political stability, social cohesion, etc). That is why this is a medium and long-term objective of the URR. Along with these general forms of direct democracy, URR supports even within the internal organization of the party, the most direct and transparent forms of democracy, such as the direct election of the leadership team, open vote (with only one exception imposed by the Law of Political Parties) and a large degree of autonomy among subsidiaries, which would shorten the decision-making process.


Team leadership represents another essential element of the new vision of the political act that the URR is proposing. Romanian politics were and still are dominated by autocratic leaders, whose main concern is not generating an efficient governing act, but monopolizing an ever-greater ratio of power. They go so far as to destroy the democratic structures of their own parties by promoting obedient and shallow characters to the second and third rows of the parties and ministries, etc, so that they do not present a real competition. In the end, the price paid for the uncontrolled hunger for power that haunts our main political actors, can turn itself into a serious damage to the balance of powers. For example, when the Presidency tries to extend its domination beyond constitutional limits, on the Government, or the Government does so on the Parliament. The principle of team leadership comes, therefore, to correct these excesses; it is meant to stimulate the efficiency resulting from co-operation, instead of the disputes for power that take place more within parties, institutions and government departments, than among parties.


Person, property and responsibility


The fourth tenet includes the attributes of autonomous individuals, private property and accountability.


The idea of autonomous individuals closely implies that of strong communities. A strong and functional community can be built only from autonomous and active citizens. A community conformist in spirit and dominated by that kind of solidarity of survival mentioned before will never succeed neither in creating prosperity nor in achieving true social justice. Therefore, it is vital to politically mobilize the citizens ("politically" in the broad sense of living together), to create those institutional forms that can make best use of their availability to get involved in managing public affairs. We need to stimulate the understanding of the fact that this kind of involvement is the perfect way to pursue those private interests that also have a certain communal relevance.
Private property is, along with legal guarantees regarding formal equality of citizens, the most important basis for autonomous and active citizens to develop; unfortunately, although its principle was very much applauded in the transition years, the status of private property is far from being satisfactory today.

Finally, the logical consequence of the autonomous person and of the freedom she must have, is individual accountability, an idea applied with much reluctance, but indispensable for building a functional society. From the government level to the level of the local administration and that of many firms, individual responsibility is not a rule of the game; it is neither assumed from inside, nor inflicted institutionally, but dissipated over so many people that it disappears without trace. This policy causes huge drawbacks: catastrophic administration of the country and of local communities, disintegration of public utilities, leaking budgets, disregard for ordinary citizens, etc. That is why individual responsibility is one of the necessary conditions for switching from the situation in which we all lose (with the well known exceptions) to one in which we all may win together.


On the other hand, individual responsibility closely relates to the broader theme of justice and the rule of law. URR starts from the essential fact that equality of citizens in front of the law is not yet a concrete reality in Romania and foresees, as the solution, the consolidation of the institutions with essential attributes in the establishment of the rule of law. The so called anti-corruption campaigns in the last decade, with capricious decisions and with the arrests' graphic decided by the ruling party, are only a hard blow given to law enforcement institutions, because they usurp their attributions. It must also be reminded that not only general corruption affects the justice in Romania. The incoherence in the law and inflation in the amount of legislation, together with the fact that the law is not perceived as an objective and transpersonal mechanism, make the police, the prosecutor's office and even the courts take only certain laws into consideration and ignore others. This is an intolerable situation that strongly supports the above solution.


Pluralism, tolerance and initiative


The fifth tenet of the doctrine joins the attributes of authentic pluralism, reciprocal tolerance and free initiative.


Pluralism is based on a simple principle: everyone has the right to define himself and to assert his own differences. It may sound even common in its classic wording: "everyone has the freedom to do what he wants, as long as he does not impinge on the freedom others", but the practical achievement of this principle, although it appears commonplace, is in fact not so simple.


Individual freedom to do anything, restricted only by others' freedom, must be sustained by a real tolerance towards each other, by a real acceptance of the difference they choose to define themselves through. Moreover, tracing with accuracy and justice the limit to which the individual 's freedom of action may go is very delicate work, which demands competent and highly functional institutions. The communities, including the large national one, as well as the local ones, must identify, through an effort of clarifying the values that define them and the major projects they are interested in, the frameworks beyond which the individual action is considered harmful.
As with the direct democracy or the effective subsidiary, the real tolerance between the community members is also a value that cannot be fully implemented in a short time. Not only are the above-mentioned limits to individual freedom difficult to determine or to apply in each specific case, but this censorship regulates itself after a long negotiation exercise with the initiatives generated by the application of particular interests.


Stimulating the free initiative is, thus, another essential point of the URR doctrine. The free initiative is seen as the very mechanism that produces prosperity in the economy, pluralism in society, dynamism in communitarian life and efficient decision-making in politics.


Final considerations


A first remark which needs to be made regarding the URR doctrine is that, consistent with the pragmatism which stands at its core, it purposefully joints attributes of a high generality level, as the principles of the pluralism and free initiative, with much more concrete attributes such as those of team leadership or individual responsibility. Every attribute reflects on one hand a deep conviction, and on the other, it implies firm solutions to concrete problems. Thus, the URR doctrine is the source of inspiration to create a URR political program as a retort to the Romanian parties' too vague political programs.
Coming to power, they often initiate arbitrary politics that are not consistent to their very program, or suit just as well any other program, precisely because of their constitutive ambiguity. Obviously, an even more important cause of the arbitrary character of transition governments is the absence of the real commitment to values and principles, be they vaguely expressed.


Furthermore, another remark which can be immediately made about this doctrine's general outline is that it refers to long term objectives and considers a long term political action, a construction built through ceaseless efforts and starting from a deep commitment to the ideas and values we have taken on. This is also a reaction to the "cosmetic" governing style created by the devastating obsessions for image and appearances which mostly characterized the governments until now. In this sense, URR categorically delimitates itself from the irresponsible and demagogic optimism of the current political class concerning the level of democracy in Romania, the economic performance and the conditions for its European integration. This doctrine proposes, on the contrary, to recognize the real situation as it is, and to transform it through accurate goals and a long-term collective effort.


The URR doctrine is not abstractly designed. It comes directly from the life experience of the people who founded the Union for the Reconstruction of Romania, as well as those who decided to join this political project afterwards. As a direct result, the party statute is thought out so that this straightforward relationship will continue to exist in the future. The URR ideological orientation and the major strategies will always be alive and dynamic, meaning that, except for some democratic principles and basic values that cannot be abandoned, they will always reflect the aspirations of those that will join the URR and those that URR represents. The URR doctrine reflects a kind of culture and a way of living that values personal freedom, dynamism, the courage to act and the results that can thus be obtained. At the same time, yet, this way of living appreciates the equilibrium, lucidity, moderation, mutual respect and the common sense that has to provide a communication and the way for interaction among people. It is a mentality that includes the necessity to obey the law, irrespective of somebody's political, social or economic position at a certain time.

This is also the reason the URR chose the term of "union" instead of the "party". URR is, primarily a political construction, but it is also a new form of communicating and operating that challenges itself to reach a level of cohesion and efficiency higher than those offered by the previous forms of association in Romania. More than anything, the URR doctrine follows, as the party's motto synthesizes - "Each and Everyone Matters" - to create communities in which each individual is recognized and is taken into consideration, to offer to everyone the possibility to affirm his personal dignity and to develop his humanity in a relevant manner with his personal aspirations, as well as with the community he lives in, here in Romania.


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