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President Basescu on November 25 referendum: A major failure

de Dan Tapalaga     HotNews.ro
Duminică, 2 decembrie 2007, 20:56 English | Top News

In an interview offered to Hotnews.ro and BBC, Romania president Traian Basescu assumes the low turnout at the referendum on November 25, but mentions that the Democrat Party (his main supporter) has also a share of the blame, due to its total lack of involvement in the electoral campaign. Starting with a calm voice, the president turns to a nervous speech when it comes to the Foreign Minister, Adrian Cioroianu or the Social-Democrat (PSD) opposition leader, Mircea Geoana. The Foreign Minister, Basescu says, "has a huge education deficit", as for Geoana - "I will never name him prime-minister as long as I am president". One of the most surprising statements comes when he talks about the referendum on the uninominal vote, Basescu declaring that a possibility exists for the Democrat Party to support the PSD uninominal vote project, submitted in 2005 in the Parliament.

Asked about the way he described the illegal workers in Spain as "a time bomb", president Traian Basescu has once again introduced his theory about the labor market restrictions: "Restricting the official, recorded work generates black market labor, generates insecurity for the citizens accepted in unregistered jobs and generates losses to the state, because they don't pay taxes. The labor force formed this way affects the interests of local workers, increasing the sentiment of antipathy to this presence and, no least, it creates an environment for fugitives to hide in. Aggression, begging, human and drug trafficking, breaking into homes and stealing - all these come from the Romanians who moved their 'market' from Romania to Europe".

"We don't know how many Romanians are in Italy. It's the price we pay for our freedom to circulate freely. The things got out of control in Italy and we try to avoid having the same thing happening in Spain", said Basescu, reminding that after discussing with PM Zapatero, the Romanian and Spanish Labor Ministers agreed to meet and modify the Spanish moratorium in such a way that Romanian workers would be identified.

Asked whether the Foreign Minister Cioroianu blundered when he addressed the King of Spain in what the media called "a manner non-pertaining to the State etiquette", Basescu says that Cioroianu reacted to a friendly way to address that King Juan Carlos used. "I didn't see the gesture (Coiroianu gave King Juan Carlos the thumbs up, our note), but I heard myself when the King told him that they were born on the same date. (...) Given the friendly manner of addressing chosen by King Juan Carlos, it was probably this the environment for the gesture, not the official status".

But this is about as much as Basescu can defend Cioroianu: "Honestly, I can tell you he's not a good Foreign Minister, but this has nothing to do with the gesture. I wouldn't accept such a gesture, not from a Romanian minister, nor from a foreign one. But the fact is that the Spanish Court didn't have a negative reaction whatsoever. (...) It is definitely o series of blunders that Cioroianu made. I had several trips made along with this man and I can tell you that he has a huge education deficit. (...) I had a few conversations with him and as soon as the president tells him one thing, he tries to prove how well he knows it and he talks ten times the time the president does. For example, we went to meet the Romanians and someone asked a question about the important consulate-related problems they see, mainly in Spain (...) I had to stop him, because he begun a long speech and the president was the interlocutor".

Speaking about the referendum for the introduction of an uninominal voting system and the low voters turnout, Basescu said that "it is mainly a lesson. Strictly from a political point of view, one may see that 82% were in favor of the uninominal vote, meaning 4 million people voted "Yes", and only 700,000 voted "no". From my point of view, it is a major failure, because at the referendum in May 2007 (note: when the people voted against the suspension of president Basescu by the Parliament) I talked about the need to reform the political class with the people, since the parties don't want to reform themselves. And I told the people at the moment: there will be the uninominal vote referendum, then the local elections, the legislative elections in 2008, then the Parliament elections in 2009... And we missed the first step. (...) Although I blamed the public television and the public radio for broadcasting misleading information, I assume the absence at the referendum as a personal failure".

Still, all is not lost for Basescu: "In case I fail to convince the parties that the 4 million people who said Yes at the referendum represent something, I may call for another referendum in 2008. I is not a personal ambition (...) We need to cleanse our political class, without this Romanians will not benefit even b y far from being citizens of the European Union, although they will still have some advantages".

But the surprise statement of the interview came when Basescu was asked about the attempt to pass his version for the uninominal referendum in the Parliament, the head of state confessing that there is a chance for his main supporting party, the Democrats (PD) to support the project tabled in 2005 by the Social-Democrat opposition (PSD): "There are a few flaws in the PSD project, there are a few in the PD draft as well", Basescu said. "In case Mircea Geoana is indeed the political guide mark of his party, the things may work".

But that will be all that's good to say about Geoana: "He keeps dreaming about being a Prime Minister, ever since 2004. This will never happen while I am president", Basescu said. After declaring a few days ago that the parties that didn't answer the president's call for important discussions will have nothing to do with the Government in the future, Basescu reinforced his statements in the interview for Hotnews.ro: "I didn't invite the parties to discussions because I didn't have anything better to do. There were important things to discuss. The Agreement for Education", the only solution to avoid having the education system changed each time the government changes... We need it this year. And Mr. Geoana, who claims that he is a responsible person, affords to be absent from discussion that refer to the national interest.

Interview by Dan Tapalaga
























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