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Nastase Is to Run for President

16 Aug 2004 - 00:00

POLITICS - August 17 2004

The Romanian Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, decided to be one of the candidates for the Presidency of Romania.


Yesterday, during his visit in Malini, Nastase said to the villagers that he would run for President. This comes after months in which the SDP (the Social Democratic Party) president, Adrian Nastase, avoided saying whether he will be one of the candidates for the Presidency of Romania, in which he was gradually announcing percentages concerning his decision about fighting or not for the place in the Romanian President’s armchair.

The uncertainty concerning the SDP candidate for the Presidency of Romania has been brought to an end yesterday, when the party’s leader, Adrian Nastase, announced that he would run for President. The PM’s appearance in Malini (in the Suceava district) has not been announced, and Adrian Nastase was dressed casually - textile trousers and a shirt with short sleeves - and he was together with his wife, Dana, and his younger son, Mihnea.

Nastases’ trip in Malini had an initial target a visit at the Nicolaie Labis (one of the greatest Romanian poets) memorial house. A small group of people accompanied the SDP president: the Agriculture Minister, Petre Daea, the coordinator minister of the Government’s General Secretary Office, Eugen Bejinariu, and the former minister Marian Sarbu. Unaccompanied by any local authority, guarded by only one GPS (Guard and Protect Service) officer, Adrian Nastase was very relaxed, walked down the village’s streets, entered the villagers’ houses and talked with them. He asked them about their problems and tried to offer instantaneous solutions. Given the context, he announced the villagers that he decided to run for President.

DECISION. "I’m going to tell you now one of things that some other people really tried to find out from me in the past two weeks. I would like to tell that I have decided to run for President, as a SDP candidate. I will submit my candidature, in such a way that this decision of mine will mean a better solutions for the Romanians during the meeting with the EU. A better chance for the wealth, a rise of the incomes", stated yesterday Nastase, in Malini. The SDP leader explained that the place of the announcement was not chosen due to a fear of his. More than that, he has already started to "shoot" the other candidates. His favorite target has been the NLP (the National Liberal Party) - DP (the Democratic Party) Alliance’s candidate, Theodor Stolojan: "When the times were rough in the country, I didn’t leave abroad, didn’t go to work anywhere to get paid by the great world organisms. I stood here. I labored in the Opposition, and then as an External Affaires Minister, as President of the Deputies’ Chamber, as a PM for four years. I was here for better or for worse and I still want to help the country with all I can in order that it will be better for it and for its people as well", said Nastase to the villagers.

UNOFFICIAL. The location in which the SDP leader announced his decision of being the SDP candidate for the Presidency of Romania is not an arbitrary one. "I wanted to announce this here, in Malini, in a very informal environment, in order to show that this is an announcement that doesn’t need any formalities or celebrations. This is a decision that appears in a natural way and that many people were waiting for. But I needed these meetings in the last months in order to convince myself that the people of this country, not only the SDP colleagues, will truly support this decision, which I’m sure they will", said Nastase. In these past months I have traveled a lot in the country, I have met many people. I’ve reached the conclusion that for the time being the Romanians need someone who knows how to listen to them, but they especially need someone who knows how to solve their problems. The future President of Romania will have to a person capable of dealing with the people’s problems, and, more than that, he will have to be the one guaranteeing for their income and wealth increase", spoke the PM.

PERCENTAGES. The SDP president took a gradual decision about him being the party’s candidate for the Presidency. "I’m 95% sure that I will be one of the candidates for the Presidency of Romania", stated Adrian Nastase on the 5th of July, during a press conference held in New York, in the USA. "If the examinations prove that my colleagues want me as their candidate for the Presidency, I will be that candidate", said at that moment the SDP leader, before his meeting with the USA President, George W. Bush. Last week the percentage concerning his decision increased: "In New York I said 95%, now I am going to tell you 99% yes". Few days after that, Adrian Nastase reached to a 100% yes and he has announced his decision of competing against the other candidates in the race for the presidential armchair.

DISPUTE. Though Nastase’s candidature for the Presidency is an affirmative response to the President’s Ion Iliescu wish, there were highly intense moments between the two in the last four years. There has been the risk of a final split between the two, at the beginning of July, when Nastase warned that he would resign as the SDP president, due to the rigid criticisms of mister Iliescu to his activity. At that time Iliescu accused Nastase that he avoided running for President as the SDP candidate and that he got away from the people. "Now one goes directly with the helicopter to the meetings with the people", Iliescu seems to have blamed Nastase. The PM looks as if he respected the President’s wish and he has now announced his candidature in the simplest way. As far back as the beginning of June Iliescu asked the governing party to elect a candidate for the Presidency until the end of August, and, more than that, he asked to see a restructuring plan for SDP, this way warning the SDP leaders that, otherwise, "our political future will not be the same".


Sources inside SDP say that Nastase’s decision of running for President of Romania is based on the results of a poll that gives that SDP leader the greatest chances of becoming the future President of Romania, before all the other important people that the party is able to send out in front. The poll is still to be finalized and it is believed it will be finished soon, the poll being the measurement unit for four possible SDP candidates: Adrian Nastase, Mircea Geoana (the Minister of External Affairs), Mugur Isarescu (the Governor of the National Bank of Romania) and Ioan Mircea Pascu (The Minister of Defense). The same SDP sources say that the poll puts Adrian Nastase up in front with 50% of the Romanians voting intention, followed, with 20% less, by Mircea Geoana and Ioan Mircea Pascu. The National Bank of Romania Governor, Mugur Isarescu, whose name once appeared as being the NLP - DP Alliance’s candidate, is the last in the poll SDP ordered.


"Adrian Nastase didn’t learn his lesson in the local elections and tries again, using a cheap advocacy, to gain the sympathy of the electorate he needs", was the reaction of the NLP-DP Alliance spokesperson, Calin Popescu Tariceanu. He rallied Nastase’s statement according to which he was in the country for better or for worse. "We don’t anything about the "worse" part in his staying here. All the time he has been the party’s president, Minister of External Affairs, leader of the Chamber etc. The "worse" part might be spoken about by Theodor Stolojan, which took the responsibility of being the Government’s leader during the toughest times since the revolution in 1989. And his experience at the World Bank is an experience that, in our opinion, is one that any politician would want, and this doesn’t include Mr. Nastase", replied Tariceanu. He does not think that the gesture of Nicolae Labis’s sister of giving to the PM a volume with "Moartea Caprioarei" ("The Death of the Deer") signed by her brother was arbitrary either. Tariceanu sees this gesture as a message for "the hunter Nastase and the transition’s batten group". (Oana Stancu)

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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