Friday, December 03, 2004

A mixed bag of stuff

Bureaucracy day 2

First up, an update on yesterday's farcical tale of bureaucratic hilarity. Having completed all the relevant paperwork, as stated to us by the guy at the police station who we asked in the first place, we went today to see him and hand over all of our paperwork. I was optimistic, Erika less so. He went through all of the papers and found that one paper as stated in a new rule book (that he hadn't produced formerly) was not there. This was a paper which had exactly the same info on as the other pieces of paper but in a diferent order. So we have to get that piece of paper, have it signed by the justice office or something and then return on Monday. I'm pretty certain that there is an unstated rule that officials cannot accept paperwork the first time it is offered for fear of setting a dangerous precedent. As soon as you make life vaguely easy, who knows what floodgates will open. There'll be people all over the country expecting to get through the system quickly and relatively easily. That can't be allowed to happen.

The other thing we had to do was go back to the mayor's offie and pay another tax. One of the taxes that we paid earlier this week was for 2000 Lei at that office. Those of you paying attention will realise that this is approximately 6 cents in US money, or about 3p in the UK. Now apparently this has gone up (in the two weeks since we were told to pay it) and is now a whopping 4500 Lei. So we had to go back to the Mayor's office and get another receipt for an additional 2500 Lei with which to supplement our previous one. This is a computerised print out that takes up some civil servant's time, and I now have 2. One for 3p and one for 4p. I will say no more about the logic of this.

Elections continued

The Romanian election I wrote about a couple of weeks ago happened with polls predicting (broadly speaking) the result. The presidential run-off goes ahead next weekend (I think) between Nastase and Basescu. Basescu has spent the week complaining of electoral fraud, but since the OSCE and subsequently the EU have said they think it was broadly fair, he seems to have the ground whipped away from under him. He looks a bit like he's trying too hard to be Yuschenko. I think it will cost him votes in the second round. Although one Romania paper today has published some revelations about Nastase and Ceasescu (that I can't really understand as they're in Romanian), so maybe he has hope yet.

In Hungary this weekend there is a referendum which will potentially have more impact on Miercurea Ciuc than the Romanian general elections. It's a referendum asking Hungarians if they want to offer dual citizenship to all Hungarians living outside of Hungary (or, if I understand correctly, all the Hungarians living in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine). The impact of this in this region could be dramatic, since the vast majority of people here are Hungarian. Those people will then have the right to have Hungarian passports along with their Romanian ones. They thus become EU citizens ( a minimum of two years before the rest of Romania's citizens become part of the EU), and can move around freely and easily.

Romania is pretty ticked off about this - particularly the EU thing - but can't really complain about it because they did the exact same thing for Romanians in Moldova. One foaming nutter from the (night)Mare party (Vadim Tudor's ultranationalist psychos) was on (Romanian) TV last night going crazy about it. I don't really know how I feel about it, but when I see people like this wanker going off on one it's hard not to support it.

The first indications were that the law would really only have an effect on the Hungarian population of Vojvodina (Northern Serbia), as they are the Hungarian minority who are most oppressed. The Hungarian populaton here are well established and pretty large (1.6m) and while they do suffer from discrimination it's not exactly oppression, so the thought was that very few would choose to go to Hungary. But apparently they've recently done a poll which suggests 17% would. This would severely effect Csikszereda as you can imagine. The size of that number though probably means that the measure won't pass the referendum anyway, as Hungary doesn't want to be flooded with more people - even if they are Magyar "brothers". The other issue that has come to light is the problem that will arise when all these citizens suddenly have the vote. How will this effect the political scene in Hungary? I hadn't even thought about it, but it is seemingly the biggest and most divisive issue in the referendum camp.

Last bit

I was going to write smething about Miklos, but I don't really know how to spell his name, and so I'll leave it until Monday. Has that enticed you? I bet it hasn't.

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