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Yesterday ex president of Romanian Ion Iliescu taught his younger and inexperienced colleagues in PSD (the Social-Democrat Party) how to deliver electoral speech. The versatile politician came out to speak to the journalists crowding in front of his office in the PSD building. He was lively and in the mood for expressing opinion on the present state of things. He talked about the floods in Romanian first and outlined his "concern">he also expressed sympathy for people harmed by floods and asked for solidarity and help for those who were left with no homes. He tried to impress people by listing floods' consequences on crops and works of art. Afterwards he got to what he was actually interested in harsh, electoral critique of the government and presidency. He asked the two institutions' leaders to renounce early elections. He asked PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu not to resign and focus efforts on helping people in need because of the recent floods. (...)

He mentioned no word about PSD's supreme argument against early elections that the latter might postpone Romania's accession to the EU, as he was obviously sure that the electorate was more keen on topics it was practically and directly interested in: "It is cynical and indecent that we should spend millions of ROL on meeting political ambition and holding early elections and costly electoral campaign, when so many Romanians are and will be suffering in the months to come." He cunningly targeted the hearts of his loyal electors, easy to impress by such messages.

Floods are more important than early elections

Then the ex president asked Traian Basescu to summon the Supreme Council for State Defense at once in order to decide state of necessity in damaged regions. Iliescu also asked the present president to chair a special Executive meeting on measures to be taken by ministries and state local and central institutions, as well as on the responsibilities of each Executive member. His rhetoric was obviously sly: "It is not early elections we need right now. It has only been half a year since last elections and two weeks ago the government got the Parliament's vote of confidence. What reasons are there for early elections, since the country is in suffering?"

As for the Constitutional Court's decision, Iliescu agreed to it, saying the Court had done its duty and that neither the Executive nor the Parliament could ignore recommendations from this institution Iliescu opined: "Some claim that the Constitutional Court's decision had led to early elections. But this is absolutely groundless. Nobody can afford to ignore a Constitutional Court decision."

Gloomy future for PSD

As for PSD and early elections, Iliescu estimated his party's score would be even lower than in last year's elections. The PSD senator explained: "I don't think PSD will have more chances if there are early elections. As for parties at rule or in the opposition to be perceived, the time is short. This is probably what the officials are relying on, since they have jumped to early election, trusting the trend somehow favorable to present rulers." He tried to outline early elections' disadvantages. Iliescu described the internal state of things as complicated and opined this did not allow for early elections. (...)

Journalists asked him if he had talked to Petre Roman about eventual unification of left-oriented groups in Romania. Iliescu said he hadn't, but mentioned he was not against such an idea.

Playing with the party members' feelings

As for his eventual strike back to party activity, Iliescu said it was to be negotiated. PSD leaders had proposed he should restart his foreground political activity and journalists asked Iliescu about it. His answer somehow showed he was in full bloom: "Positive answer depends on whether it is worthy for me to take such responsibility, whether my contribution can be useful or not. This is a matter of mutual analysis. As far as I am concerned, consider my position during the PSD National Council when analyzing it."

Carmen EPURAN

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