The message today from Bucharest is “Come Back, Ion Iliescu! We were wrong!” Ion Iliescu was President of Romania after Nicolae Ceaucescu was ousted and shot in December, 1989. Iliescu served as President for six years, until 1996, when he was voted out of office, replaced by a coalition of liberals and centrists. This coalition has done nothing to improve the daily life of the Romanians, quite the contrary : incomes have even dropped in the last four years, the economy downsized by 15%, corruption is rife and Bucharest is as far as it is possible to get to being accepted by the European Union. Ex-Communist party leader Ion Iliescu represents the Social Democratic Party (PDSR) and is expected to get 40% of the vote, which means that he will face a second round Presidential election in two weeks against one of the other candidates, Mugur Isarescu (Prime Minister, Independent), Teodor Stolojan (Liberal) and Corneliu Vadim Tudor (Right-wing nationalist). Isarescu has already said he would be prepared to get on with a leftist government if he is elected president, preparing himself for the stark reality : the Romanians, like so many other examples in Eastern Europe, have despaired of party politics played by unscrupulous players, opportunists and mafia-men who confuse the greed to make personal wealth with the duty of running a country responsibly. Things are changing and the people are no fools. Order is the word of the day. The Communists, competent professionals schooled in organizational programmes, are ready to take up the challenge, that of modernizing eastern Europe and preparing for the challenges of the future.

Pravda.Ru Correspondent Bucharest

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