The Eidos Foundation, along with the international public opinion polling company AtlasIntel, conducted two surveys on the state of democracy in Romania and Republic of Moldova. The result from the Romanian survey reveals that 8 out of 10 Romanians believe that corruption is the biggest threat to democracy in Romania. Furthermore, the survey shows that although Romanians support democracy as a form of government (79%), they are unsatisfied with the way it functions (72%). Corruption (80%), local oligarchic interests (34%), lack of education (33%), and globalization (26%) are perceived as the main threats to democracy in Romania, and the existing controls to prevent abuses of power are not considered effective by more than half of the respondents.
Cristian Movilă, the president of the Eidos Foundation, stated that „today, May 20, marks 33 years since the first free elections in Romania. With this survey we wanted to see where we stand after these years, what support democracy has in Romania and in the Republic of Moldova and how solid is the foundation on which it has settled.”
Andrei Roman, the founder of AtlasIntel, declared that “the results of the survey should constitute a wake-up call for political leaders and civil society. Even as the pro-democracy option is overwhelming in both Romania and Moldova, as the vast majority of people understand the value of democracy and support the strengthening of its institutions, they perceive it as dysfunctional and delivering poorly on their needs. The perceived corruption and incompetence of the political class (surprisingly, with this pattern being more pronounced in Romania rather than in Moldova), the decay of performance in the educational system and the erosion of the impartiality and professionalism of mass media trusts are key challenges affecting the quality of democracy in both countries. Under these circumstances, the risks related to democratic erosion are increasing, as opportunistic political actors will inherently attempt to capitalize on the general disappointment of the population with populist and radical platforms that may well threaten the achievements of the past two decades.”
Who do Romanian Trust?
76% of respondents do not believe that media institutions are independent and impartial when reporting on political events and issues, and when it comes to justice, 40% of Romanians consider it to have played an important role in guaranteeing and protecting democracy, but not as the main guardian, while 30% of them perceive justice as a threat.NATO and the European Union continue to have support from the population, and they believe that these organizations help protect and consolidate democracy in Romania, in the context that half of them believe that the future of democracy can be threatened in the near future by a foreign country.
Solutions in support of democracy
Romanians see citizen involvement in the consolidation and improvement of democracy as essential and consider holding elected officials accountable through communication channels or public demonstrations to be the most important form of civic engagement, followed by advocating for increased investment in education and reforming the education system. Online voting, consultations, and referendums are the main democratic measures adopted by other countries that Romanians consider relevant to improving democracy in Romania.
The survey results were presented on Saturday, May 20, 33 years after the first free elections in Romania, at the evening event at the Romanian Athenaeum, part of the international UNFINISHED Democracy initiative. In addition to the evening event, under the UNFINISHED Democracy umbrella, a session of civic consultations and a series of workshops dedicated to children (Kids for Democracy) took place, aimed at promoting democracy among young people and involving them from an early age in supporting and transforming democracy.
The survey was conducted between May 3-10, on a sample of 1,600 people, with a margin of error of +/-2 and a confidence level of 95%.
UNFINISHED Democracy is organized by EIDOS Foundation and The Democracy and Culture Foundation, with the support of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.