ROMANIA: EX-COMMUNISTS WIN PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

Ion Iliescu easily won the Romanian Presidential elections with 70.2% of the vote, against the Nationalist Vadim Tudor (29.8%). Tudor’s “Romania Mare” (Greater Romania) party, however, made a significant impression in these elections, failing to win the presidential vote but managing to become the second political force in the Romanian parliament, with 121 seats out of a total of 483 (25%). Tudor has whipped up Romanian nationalism in a country which is fraught with social problems. The large gypsy community has been seen by many Romanians to get away with bullying and corruption unpunished and mafia rings have been gaining more and more power. Having alluded to concentration camps against Romania’s enemies, Tudor stated that “In every child born in Romania, there is a Vadim Tudor who knows how to defend his country and his national identity”. Iliescu won the vote on a wave of pragmatism and common sense : “This election is crucial to choose the path which Romania is to follow : a consolidation of the democratic process or on the other hand, the interruption of this process”. Another ex-Communist is voted back into power in a free, democratic election.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon