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Opposition Presidential Candidates Relay Their Messages to Nastase

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30 Aug 2004 - 00:00

POLITICS August - 30th 2004

Candidates for Romania’s Presidency commented yesterday the official announcement Friday of PM Adrian Nastase bid for the top-office in the country, on the occasion of the extraordinary congress of the [ruling] Social Democrat Party (SDP).

CAMELIA IONESCU

Theodor Stolojan, the candidate of the Alliance National Liberal Party - Democrat Party, said Nastase was "the best friend of local barons [name given by media to wealthy local leaders of the SDP] that he "will never dispense of." On the contrary, Stolojan said Nastase’s running for office is "the best insurance [the barons] have for their rising fortunes."
"After the elections, Nastase will once again bring them at the forefront of public life," said Stolojan.

On the other hand, Stolojan said the SDP primaries are just "an exercise in public image spin" and that there was no way the talk about "the new SDP" held substance.
"This party is unable to renew itself. One does not have to wait for September 5 [day set for SDP primaries] to see that only a reshuffling of the old guard will take place. This is the one thing the SDP knows best," said Stolojan.

For his part, Nastase invited Stolojan to present in a future press conference at least one project aimed at supporting the population, on which both can then talk about. This would also show that Stolojan understood the role of a candidate to the Presidency of Romania, Nastase thought.
"Mr. Stolojan spends his free time in Craiova. It is very difficult for me comment on what he said from out there. These two days I was very busy running from one place to another: Arad, Bihor and Constanta counties, [to name a few].
There were issues to be solved for the people who had been hit by floods and storms. It is Mr. Stolojan’s business if he has an interest or not in who is running for office," said Nastase.

Codrut Seres, the candidate of the Romanian Humanist Party (RHP) and the party’s vice-president, said that "the extraordinary SDP congress and the nomination of Adrian Nastase for the presidential elections wanted to show that all things are back to normal inside the party and that the loss in public trust experienced right after the local elections was unwarranted."
"Unfortunately, we will be able to ascertain this for sure only after September 5, the date of the SDP primaries, and see if indeed we are presented with a true new-SDP or with the same old one," said Seres.

Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the president of the Greater Romania party (GRP), said that Nastase does not stand one chance to be elected, not even as mayor, or maybe only as mayor of Cornu [village north of Bucharest where the PM owns a farm and built a vacation house]. But not [he is not to succeed moving] into the Cotroceni [presidential] Palace.
Tudor says he knows the real score of opinion polls and that these place the SDP leader "on the third place, with only 20% of the votes."
"There is no country in the world where the presidency can be won with such a modest vote count," said Tudor.

The Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (DUHR) did not set yet its candidate for the presidency. Gyorgy Frunda [former DUHR presidential candidate] declined the offer. Still, Marko Bela, the DUHR president, said the party will chose a strong candidate to run against Nastase. Marko congratulated Nastase on his nomination for the presidential elections and for instating the primaries system inside the SDP.

The DUHR subsidiary in Cluj County decided with a majority of votes at the Saturday meeting of the Council of Union Representatives to support Eckstein Kovacs Peter for running on the presidential ticket. Eckstein was a minister for minorities in the previous administration, Mediafax wire service informs.

Translation: ANCA PADURARU

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