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The Parties Fight for the Immigrantsâ Votes
POLITICS August 12 2004Though they left the country, the Romanians from abroad still have the right to vote, which makes them attractive for the parties. In this electoral season, the politicians want to regain the votes of the 10 million Romanians from abroad - which represent half of the population of Romania.
By MIRELA IAMANDIMillions of votes have shattered in the last elections because the Diaspora hasnât been contacted enough by the politicians and also because the immigrants lost their interest in Romania.
Being the political power in Romania, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has an advantage of a few years in this area, and they have recently accelerated the process by inviting a Romanian with a double nationality to candidate on the partyâs parliamentary list. The name of this happy winner isnât known yet, but this announcement is to gain the sympathy of the Romanians in the Diaspora.
LOBBY. Secretary of state "in the branch" and spokesman of SDP, Titus Corlateanu shows that his party has a long list of successes in this area. The most important is the change of the Constitution, so that the Romanians with double nationality will be able to have functions and statuses in the organization charts in his native country.
There is another issue concerning "the initiation for the first time in 80 years of some Romanian classes in 32 localities near Vidin" in order to help the Romanians in Bulgaria, according to Titus Corlateanu. More than that, the Government is lobbying for inserting in the Bulgarian educational system these classes at the high-school in Vidin.
There is also a credit for buying the building of the Orthodox Church in Stuttgart - which is to be anointed this week - plus books and cassettes - in the SDP magistrateâs enumeration. "I am waiting for the Governmentsâ actions to be appreciated by the Romanians in the Diaspora when they vote", said Corlateanu for us yesterday, announcing that he will advertise the Governmentâs efforts during the campaign.
CANDIDATES. The parties fight in order to be the favorites of the Romanians in the Diaspora, and this started a SDP - Alliance conflict regarding the law of the Romanians abroad. These days the conflict between the two political formations restarted, though this issue has been in front long time before the vacation started.
So, last week, the Government enabled the SDP project regarding the Romanians abroad, which permits the appearance of a forum under the protection of the Parliament - a council formed by the Congress of the Romanians from everywhere, which is to receive money from the Legislative, which is to maintain the national identity. According to the European tendencies, this is to be analyzed by the neighbor countries, after being examined by the European law courts: the High Commissary for national minorities of the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Commission in Venice.
INTELLECTUAL LOAN. On the other side of the barricade, the liberals and the democrats have submitted a project of their own during the winter, which was to lead to the formation of a state department (so under governmental authority), this being the unification of the three leading boards in this segment from three ministries. Saying that this project didnât have the necessary courtesy and neighborhood demands, the SDP members rejected it. "When our project was almost ready, the opposition launched a project, which copied ours and was inspired from an older project of the 2000 Government. So they committed an intellectual borrowing, not to say a theft, says the SDP spokesman, Titus Corlateanu.
The project proposed by the liberals was about the necessity of a structure to administrate as a credit arranger the relations with all the Romanians abroad, the total de-politicization of the relationships with them, to support the making of a mini-parliament for them (idea launched by the World Union of the Free Romanians in 2000), to create a special fund for scholarships destined to the young Romanians abroad.
The Allianceâs candidate for the presidency, Theodor Stolojan, will have a special chapter, dedicated to the Romanians in the Diaspora, in his electoral offer. Theodor Stolojan pleads that, after the legislative phase, projects for each community will be initiated, which are to result in "the making of a lobby strategy", according to the NLP (the National Liberal Party) documents.
COMMONWEALTHSThe Romanians in the neighbor countries have been the first in the governmental targetsâ list. Some of them are considered to be commonwealths - with the respective rights -, like Hungary and Voivodina, while others, like the 400,000 on the Timoc Valley, are named "vlahi", without benefiting from their rights as minority people. The American Romanians do not want to be taken into account as a minority (this meaning they loose the money from the USA budget) in order to not be taken for minorities of Afro-Americans. From the 10 million of Romanians abroad, two millions are the economical immigrants - which contain the famous strawberry collectors in Spain. Until now the Romanian immigration meant only 20,000 votes. The Government is willing to accept now the Internet voting as well and even to modify the law concerning this.
"FOREIGNERS" ON THE GREAT ROMANIA PARTYâS (GRP) LISTSHaving as a logo the remake of the great Romania, GRP has a special department dedicated to the relations with the Romanians abroad and, especially, to the Basarabeans, in which two ladies in the poetry world are involved: Mitzura Arghezi and Leonida Lari.
Besides the editorial relation (there are more Basarabeans authors of some articles in the Great Romania magazine), GRP has also an "institutional" relationship with the Romanians abroad. "We have more than 100 members with a double nationality, Moldovan citizens I mean", stated for us yesterday Cornel Ciontu (photo), the prime vice-president of GRP.
Sources from inside the party say that three "foreigners" are already to be included in the parliamentary lists of GRP: from America, Italy and Israel.
STRATEGYThe Romanians abroad are to be taken into account by the Humanists. The HPR (the Humanist Party of Romania), Bogdan Pitigoi, shows that this is an issue to be taken care of by the candidate for Presidency, Codrut Seres, as well as by the creators of the HPR strategy. "Any Government and any party should take into account all the Romanian citizens, no matter whether they are or not living in the country.
Weâll have specific programmes for each community and weâll pay attention to the ones working abroad", stated Pitigoi. The humanists didnât decide yet whether they will invite Romanians with double nationality to candidate on their lists according to the present trends, just because they didnât discuss about any candidature for the Parliament, since they are expecting the electoral law promised by the Government.
Translation: SORIN BALAN