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The Leader of the Greater Romania Party Takes a Second Row Position
EVENT - March 14th 2005Corneliu Vadim Tudor gave up Saturday his position as president of the Greater Romania Party to become its honorary president. The party itself changed its name to the Greater Romania Popular Party. The new executive president of the party is now Corneliu Ciontu, and his deputy is Senator Dorel Constantin Onaca.
by CARMEN VINTILAThe National Council of the party decided to instate the position of honorary president, which was granted to Tudor in order for him to be "the moral leader and the guarantor of the balance and unity of the party." Tudor said that the decision to change the name of the party was the best option possible in the strategy of the partyâs councilor, Eyal Arad, which targets to "get rid of the infamous labels" attached to the party. Tudor admitted that he was responsible for these labels being attached to the party, because of his lack of caution and lack of communication with the public. "I am not very proud of what I accomplished as a politician," said Tudor. He also mentioned that the changes were made following the official request the party made to join the European Popular Party. Tudor also explained that he accepted an honorary position in the party hierarchy in order to focus on managing a newly opened television station and to finalize his doctoral thesis in theology. He also said that his new status should not be interpreted as stepping down from his position in order to avoid responsibilities; on the contrary, as honorary president he will preside over all leading bodies in the party and also represent the party internationally. Tudor stated that the only actual sacrifice was changing the name of the party, but that was necessary in order to change its perception, which was negative since the very beginning, as the name made some think that the party will claim territories from Romaniaâs neighbors. The GRPP, according to its new statute is "a Christian and conservative party, which promotes the national, popular and European values and strives for European unity and the EU integration of Romania by way of parliamentary, political and cultural means." One of the rumors regarding Tudorâs withdrawal from the top executive position stated that the EPP asked the GRP to make three major changes before attempting to join the European collection of parties: to change the president, the name and the statute of the party. Tudor headed the GRP since 1991, when the party was founded. He also ran three times for Romaniaâs presidential office: in 1996, in 2000 and in 2004, but he never won. He reached though the second round of elections in 2000, when Ion Iliescu won over him. Ciontu, the new executive president, is also a founding member of the party and he previously was a secretary general, a vice-president and a first-vice president of the party. Dumitru Dragomir, GRP member of the House, said that Tudor stays the "soul" of the party and that the changes were not only for show, but for real, in order to join the big parties of Europe. The main problem of the party was identified by journalist Ion Cristoiu to be an image problem and that was related directly to Tudorâs personality. The poor image problem also stayed in the way of the party being taken into account as a valid partner to government by the coalition of the Democrat and National Liberal parties. It rests to be seen if the image make-over will hold together, and the first sign of that will be coming with who will conduct the weekly press-differences of the party: if it will still be Tudor all over the television screens it will all be in vain, explained Cristoiu.
Reactions from other politiciansEugen Nicolaescu, spokesman for the National Liberal Party, believes that Tudorâs new move should be taken with a pinch of salt, since the very GRP was built around the personality of Tudor. He also speculated that the move could have come from pressures inside party ranks, given the poor performance of the party in the last elections. "Any way, we salute the changes as a sign that the GRP is indeed willing to adopt new stances," said Nicolaescu. Daniela Popa, House member for the Romanian Humanist Party, said the move comes as a surprise and that it will be interesting to see if the electorate of the party will not change allegiance, if the party will truly sustain meaningful changes and what the reaction of international community will be. Emil Boc, the interim president of the Democrat Party, said that to his mind the changes were only window-dressing for the party to jump on the band-wagon in order to make it to the European Parliament, once Romania will accede to the EU. Adrian Nastase, the Social Democrat Party leader, said that Tudorâs decision to step down from the top executive position "was extremely important," since under Ciontuâs leadership the GRP could get higher credibility internationally. Titus Corlatean, SDP spokesman, said that his party does not rule out future collaboration with the GRPP, if changes will bring that party towards a more democratic and European stance. Marko Bela, the president of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, said that he doubted the sincerity of Tudorâs move. While Gheorghe Ciuhandu, leader of the Christian Democrat Popular Party, said that he deemed Tudorâs change of position to be just for show. Ciuhandu also said that the attempt made by the GRPP to come closer to the EPP is not getting in the way of his own partyâs attempts in the same direction.
Translation : ANCA PADURARU
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