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Iliescu and Nastase Ready to Say Goodbye

08 Iul 2004 - 00:00

POLITICS - July 8 2004

The Prime Minister has submitted his resignation as president of the Social Democrat Party (SDP). He waits for a final meeting with the President Ion Iliescu to make public his decision to quit being the leader of the SDP.

The meeting of the two is to take place as soon as the President returns from his official visit in Slovenia. In the following article Jurnalul National will show you the entire story of this crisis that could mean the breaking of the Iliescu-Nastase tandem.

The sparkle that blew up the relation between the President and the Prime Minister was the meeting on Monday between Ion Iliescu and the leaders of SDP. What initially was supposed to be a meeting at Cotroceni in which the leaders of SDP were to show to the President the strategy on which is based the SDP reform, turned into a political inquisition following which the leaders of SDP, headed by Adrian Nastase, have been held responsible by the chief of the state. His favorite target was Nastase. Iliescu reproached to him the fact that he still avoids saying whether he will be the SDP candidate for the presidency this year and that he is a foreigner to the people. "Nowadays, we use the helicopter to go to the meetings with the people", Iliescu seems to have ironically said. In the same time, he added that the SDP should announce their candidate for the presidential elections this year by the beginning of August.

With a rigid tone, the chief of the state asked the SDP leaders to finalize the party reform by the 16th of July 2004, which should include dismissals of some of the vice-presidents. In case that this wouldn’t have happened he said there would be break up between him and the party he created. "If these measures don’t appear we’ll head for separate ways in the future", Iliescu seems to have warned the leaders of SDP.


On Tuesday afternoon the rumors about the resignation of Adrian Nastase as President of the SDP and his refusal to be the SDP candidate for the presidential elections simply blew up the editorial offices of the Romanian daily papers. The rumor seemed to be true due to the fact that there were people saying that Nastase threatened Iliescu about his future resignation in the meeting that took place at Cotroceni on Monday, because of the manner in which Iliescu gives orders to the members of the party. The phones started ringing ever since. The leaders of the SDP that answered were firmly asserting that they didn’t have the slightest idea about a future resignation of Nastase. After some time the unofficial information began to come out. The first rumor was saying that Nastase will publicly announce his resignation at seven o’clock in the evening. Short time after that the information were saying that the Prime Minister had given up announcing his resignation after a phone conversation with Ion Iliescu who was left in an official visit in Slovenia. The chief of the state seems to have asked Nastase to wait for his return in Romania in order to analyze this situation more thoroughly. Later in the evening the news saying that this morning the Permanent Delegation of the SDP is to be convoked emphasized the idea that the resignation of Nastase is to be publicly announced soon.


Yesterday, the reporters have assaulted the SDP headquarters early in the morning. The same happened to the members of the party. A few moments before nine o’clock, when the meeting of the Permanent Delegation was announced, at the SDP headquarters in Baneasa, Octav Cozmanca, Serban Mihailescu, Viorel Hrebenciuc, Dan Matei Agathon, Nicolae Vacaroiu, and Miron Mitrea (all members of the SDP) were already there. Later Gabriel Oprea and Marian Oprisan came. But surprise! There was no meeting. The fact that all these important members came to the headquarters emphasized the idea that there was something to be announced. The first of the SDP leaders that came to talk to the press has been Nicolae Vacaroiu, the president of the Senate. "What rumor, what resignation, have you seen any resignation?!". Then the logical question: "Have you talked to Nastase about this resignation?". Unfortunately his answer has been unconvincing: "I have tried to call him, but I didn’t manage to reach him". Short time after that the Minister of Transport Miron Mitrea left. He didn’t give a certain answer to the press either. Then Agathon: "There’s no meeting. The Permanent Delegation is to be convoked at the end of the week. I respect you too much in order not tell you there’s nothing to wait for in front of the headquarters. You’re staying in the sun in vain." Few minutes later an official in charge with the residence appears trying to convince the reporters they have nothing to wait for. In this time a luxurious car appears in front of the back exit. Viorel Hrebenciuc comes out of the residence. He gets into the car and the chauffeur drives away quickly.


Marian Oprisan leaves the headquarters in Baneasa. He tells the reporters he came to talk to Cozmanca about the district councils. Questioned by all the reporters, Oprisan starts to state his opinions about the Governmental reshuffling.

"Of course, at the Governmental level there are some decisions to be taken targeting some state secretaries. I believe that there are also some ministers to reevaluate their activity." Then the question about Nastase: "What are you going in case that Adrian Nastase quits?" His plane answer confuses the reporters: "There’s no problem about that. The SDP is a democratic party." Cozmanca also leaves the headquarters: " No", "I don’t know", "I cannot comment" were his answers. Serban Mihailescu is the last to leave. "We’ll see if we will take into account a possible resignation of Adrian Nastase. That’s life".


All the time yesterday the Prime Minister hid in the Victoria Palace waiting for the President to return to Romania. The official agenda of the Prime Minister was empty for yesterday. Nastase avoided showing up in public because he did not want to be forced out to confirm or to infirm the rumors about his resignation. More than that, Nastase also gave up on his private meetings. By the time this edition went to print there were contradictory rumors about the time of his meeting with the President Iliescu: last night or tomorrow morning.


There are two supposed ways in which the breaking of the Iliescu-Nastase tandem would result in. The first one says that Nastase would resign as the president of the SDP, and give up on being the SDP candidate for President, but to retain his function as Prime Minister. If he is not to candidate for President there are some secret sources that assure that the SDP candidate will be Mugur Isarescu (the National Bank of Romania Governor) (photo). According to these sources Isarescu discussed a lot upon this matter with Ion Iliescu in the last two weeks, and finally he agreed on being the SDP candidate for President. The second choice of Nastase is not to resign, to reform the SDP and get out of the Ion Iliescu’s guardianship.


"We’ll see if we will take into account a possible resignation of Adrian Nastase. That’s life". - Serban Mihailescu, vice-president of SDP


"There’s no problem about that. The SDP is a democratic party." - Marian Oprisan, the Vrancea SDP leader


The break up between Ion Iliescu and Adrian Nastase means the present vice-presidents would have to choose between the two.

Their affiliation to one of the sides of the party is something we all know about, though the SDP leaders have always denied that. However, everyone knows that the SDP vice-presidents that would choose the Ion Iliescu are: Octav Cozmanca, Sorin Oprescu, Ioan Mircea Pascu, Miron Mitrea, Nicolae Vacaroiu, Doru Ioan Taracila, Acsinte Gaspar, Hildegard Puwak, Ion Solcanu. The ones who would choose Adrian Nastase are: Victor Ponta, Dan Matei Agathon, Mihai Tanasescu, Ilie Sarbu, Valer Dorneanu and Serban Mihailescu.

In the present we cannot say anything about the affiliation of Dan Ioan Popescu, Viorel Hrebenciuc, Mircea Geoana and Ioan Rus, also important leaders of the SDP. The first two aren’t wanted by Iliescu or Nastase either.

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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