THE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION IN ROMANIA.
|Rus, Flaviu Calin
The main ideas underlying the study refer to the president and to everything that, from the administrative point of view, is related to this state position. By carrying out the content analysis of numerous press articles, TV and radio shows, live broadcast press conferences, news releases (issued by the President of Romania and by his spokespersons), we have reached the conclusion that, in the collective mentality, there is a severe confusion made between the president's administrative communication and the so-called political communication, which, from some persons' point of view, is used by the president instead of the administrative one. From our point of view, there is a clear distinction between the two notions; there are also huge differences between the presidential communication of administrative type and the political communication of a politician, be him/her a candidate for the position of president in the rule of law. We also consider that the work of a president of a Republic is an administrative one, but, most of the times, it is mistaken for the political one. This work of administrative type, carried out by the president based on his prerogatives, has to be popularized through a form of public communication, namely through the presidential communication. Consequently, it is highly important what the president does during his mandate, but the way in which the population is informed about his work is just as important.
These issues awaken the researcher's interest also because the Romanian language allows certain nonverbal associations and public behaviors that can often induce a too high proximity between public presidential communication and political communication. From our point of view, along with the aforementioned arguments, we consider the presidential communication in Romania to be extremely interesting to study for three main reasons:
Based on the constitutional prerogatives, the Romanian President is not allowed to be part of any political party, hence his/her form of communication must be public presidential, not political (Constitution of Romania, title III, chapter II, Article 84, paragraph 1).
According to article 80, paragraph 2, from the Constitution of Romania, the President 'shall act as a mediator' (Constitution of Romania, title III, chapter II, Article 80, paragraph 2). Consequently, he/she must mediate between the political parties as well, so he/she is not allowed to be politically biased, and this can be achieved by using public presidential communication, which does not contain political ideological-doctrinal elements.
The public perception is not very clear when it comes to the prerogatives of the President of Romania and the type of communication that he/she uses.
Our scientific endeavor is based on the two issues written in the Constitution of Romania, namely that the President is not allowed to be a member of a political party and that he/she should be a mediator. On the basis of these constitutional elements, we assume that the President's form of communication has certain limitations and that the presidential form of communication should be public and not otherwise. In the practical part of this article, we want to look at this very aspect, whether in Romania the presidential communication is public and whether there are, to a lesser or greater extent, recognizable elements of political communication within the presidential communication.
We are aware that there is a descriptive and operational limit between political communication and the presidential one of administrative type, which is why we will try to define these concepts in the next section. These limits are given, as we have previously stated, by the prerogatives of the president and the way they are exercised, but there are several other factors which may sustain the perception confusion between the two forms of communication. Another factor that needs to be considered is the personality structure of each president, the structure that can give two types of behavior: one strictly within the law and another, wider, within the spirit of the law. The ideological-doctrinal component of the discourse of every president also plays a fundamental role. A president strongly rooted in a party ideology (especially if he/ she has been the leader of that party) will use more political anchors in his/her presidential communication or symbolic political patterns in the positions he/she adopts, this mechanism occurring most often unconsciously, all contributing to a more difficult differentiation, by a simple observer, of the two forms of communication. Finally, another parameter that we must take into account and which makes it difficult to differentiate between the aforementioned forms of communication is related to the type of leader the president belongs to. A strong, involved leader, a player-like type of president will tend, more or less consciously, to seize a political component through public appearances, while a mediator-like president will tend to distance himself/herself, as much as possible, from the political component precisely not to be labeled as biased during various negotiations with each of the parliamentary parties. Nevertheless, there are, in our opinion, a number of fundamental characteristics of public administrative presidential communication, such as: the topics brought to discussion, national interests, the negotiation and mediation zone above party interests, organizational culture regarding the institution of the presidency, various symbolic state values, that can make a clear differentiation from the classical political communication.
Returning to presidency, we would like to mention that promoting his/her activity implies first of all a rigorous knowledge of this activity. This mechanism to promote the president's work comprises three types of elements: 1) the president's PR or Communication Department; 2) professionals employed in this department, for instance, the spokesperson; 3) techniques, instruments or means to promote the president's activity.
The purpose of this article is to emphasize the above-mentioned elements and, also, to clarify the difference between the president's political and public communication. We want to emphasize the fact that this article does not represent a political analysis of the president's situational behavior or a political analysis of the content of the presidential messages, but rather a research on the presidential public communication. We also want to mention the fact that the data and materials underlying the research questions we attempted to answer were preponderantly gathered during January-April 2012 (President Basescu) and January-April 2015 (President Iohannis).
Defining the notions related to the Presidential Administration
To better understand the difference between the political communication and the presidential communication it is absolutely necessary to define, as precisely as possible, the notions related to the presidential administration. First of all, we want to define the notion of 'President', as well as his/her roles in the rule of law. The Romanian Constitution, under the role of the president, stipulates as follows:
'(1) The President of Romania shall represent the Romanian State and is the safeguard of the national independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country.
(2) The President of Romania shall guard the observance of the Constitution and the proper functioning of the public authorities. To this effect, he shall act as a mediator between the Powers in the State, as well as between the State and society' (the Constitution of Romania, title III, chapter II, article 80, paragraphs 1 and 2).
In order to differentiate the presidential communication from the political one, the following paragraph from the Constitution, referring to incompatibilities and immunities, is eloquent as well:
'(1) During his/her term in office, the President of Romania may not be a member of any political party, nor may he perform any other public or private office' (the Constitution of Romania, title III, chapter II, article 84, paragraph 1).
The second notion we want to clarify here is the one of public administration. As follows, we shall present the perspectives of several specialists in what the definition of this concept is concerned.
--'Public Administration is the production of goods and services designed to serve the needs of citizens-consumers' (Dimock et al., 1983 apud Stillman, 2009, p. 2).
--'Public administration may be defined as all processes, organizations, and individuals (the latter acting in official positions and roles) associated with carrying out laws and other rules adopted or issued by legislatures, executives, and courts' (Milakovich, 2006 apud Stillman, 2009, p. 3).
In Stillman's perspective (which refers to several definitions), public administration may be defined through the following parameters: '(1) the executive branch of government (yet it is related in important ways to the legislative and judicial branches); (2) the formulation and implementation of public policies; (3) the involvement in a considerable range of problems concerning human behavior and cooperative human effort; (4) a field that can be differentiated in several ways from private administration; (5) the production of public goods and services; and (6) rooted in the law as well as concerned with carrying out laws' (Stillman, 2009, p. 3). Waldo (1988) defines public administration as follows: 'Public Administration is the art and science of management as applied to the affairs of the state' (apud Mora and Ticlau, 2009, p. 16).
Apart from the above-mentioned notions, we shall continue by defining: communication, political communication and public communication. Another concept we shall use in this paper is that of communication and, consequently, we present its definition: 'In current use, the verb 'to...
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