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November 26, 2004

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Raoul Djukanovic

"You could call it a center-left party, but really it's a bunch of corrupt but pragmatic would-be populists."

Reminds me of Britain's New Labour... Thanks for the informative summary - anyone got any ideas how to break the FSN/PDSR/PSD stranglehold? Seems like the Constantinescu chaos destroyed alternatives for the time being. Who's funding Basescu's campaign, by the way?

Raoul Djukanovic

i suspect you've already seen this, but it's interesting to note the depths to which even news agencies stoop in search of a sexy story, however vacuous:

"BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A shepherd turned soccer tycoon, an anti-Semite who became pro-Jewish and Romania's former chief spy share a deep conviction they are destined to lead the Balkan country.

"If Romania's presidential and parliamentary races on Sunday appear a little dreary, with the same old characters running on similar pro-European Union agendas, take a second look..."

Doug Muir

Who's funding Basescu's campaign, by the way?

Well, one big chunk seems to be coming from Dinu Patriciu.

Patriciu is a strange and eccentric oligarch. He owns Rompetrol, among other things. Has done a pretty good job of reorganizing it, too.

He has consistently supported the Liberal party. He says it's because his father was a Liberal, back in the pre-Communist days. Go figure.

When Liberal candidate Stolojan dropped out (for "health reasons" which remain somewhat mysterious), Basescu inherited that support.

That's far from all of it, of course, but at the moment it looks like the biggest single piece.


Doug M.

Raoul Djukanovic

thanks doug. i remember patriciu taking a swipe at jude law in one of those rare events in romania that make the international news.

all that's been seen in britain over the past few months were interviews with various women who used to sleep with adrian mutu, or at least that's what they told the preying tabloid hacks...

apart from the immigration scandal that forced a british government minister to resign, the last story to "make it" over here was a ding-dong about business as usual in the FDI backhander bonanza, when mittal swooped for sidex.

back to the election though - how serious are people about the allegations of PSD fraud? is this just idle carping or is a ukrainian style monitoring operation out to detect it? i noticed the allusion to potential protests in an earlier thread, but was unsure what to make of the reference, especially given the general apathy you highlighted.

i haven't been studying the polls, but i wonder whether you think that basescu might stand more of a chance in the run-off were the PSD to win the parliamentary vote. nastase's weakness would seem to be himself, which doesn't go down so well, at least not in comparison to old man iliescu's common touch or basescu's vim and vigour, in rhetoric at least.

i remember having dinner with nastase once, where he was trying to regale a visiting elie wiesel with his list of achievements. even michael guest felt obliged to cough politely and note in diplospeak that they'd been like drawing blood from a stone. i always got the impression that nastase had aspirations but lacked the capacity to deliver what he'd like to promise. the vanity seemed especially misplaced as a result.

what time are results expected?

best,
raoul

Ana

I may be a bit late, but I only discovered your website today! I absolutely love it. It's very interesting to see how foreigners view our country. One rarely comes accross such objective and frank opinions.
My comment is mainly for the remarks about the ethnic parties in Romania. It doesn't matter how many they are! Ever since 1923, the Romanian constituion has guaranteed the right of minorities to be represented in Parliament, indifferently of their scores in elections. It's usually the main party that gets the seats.
Keep up the good work!

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