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Cablegate: Romanian President-Elect Traian Basescu Sets Out

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 003447

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM SOCI RO
SUBJECT: ROMANIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT TRAIAN BASESCU SETS OUT
KEY OBJECTIVES IN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

REF: BUCHAREST 3160

THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY

1. (U) Summary. In his first speech after acknowledging his
win in presidential run-off elections, Romanian President-
elect Traian Basescu emphasized EU integration, poverty,
political influence on state institutions and corruption,
all key Basescu themes in his presidential campaign. He
highlighted another campaign plank - the importance of a
strong trans-Atlantic alliance. Basescu also stressed that
the PNL-PD should lead a parliamentary governing coalition.
End Summary.

A Jubilant New President-Elect
------------------------------
2. (U) President-elect Traian Basescu accepted victory
December 13 in a brief, nationally televised speech in which
he acknowledged the concession of his competitor, center-
left Social Democratic Party (PSD) PM Adrian Nastase.
Flanked by senior members of his center-right Liberal-
Democratic (PNL-PD) alliance bloc -- including PNL leader
and potential Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu --
Basescu outlined the priorities for his administration,
stressing themes he had raised repeatedly throughout the
campaign.

Seeking a PNL-PD led Majority
-----------------------------
3. (U) Basescu said his first priority would be to form a
parliamentary majority that would allow him to implement
with "total force" Romania's plans for integration into the
European Union. "We are aware that after closing
negotiations, there are still extremely difficult
obligations," ahead for Romania, Basescu declared. He
stressed that Romania's EU accession obligations could only
be implemented by a government led by the PNL-PD bloc. He
stressed that the alliance had obtained 161 seats in both
parliamentary chambers, while PSD without its Humanist Party
(PUR) ally, had obtained only 160. Basescu said he intended
to attract to the PNL-PD led coalition the parliament's
"democratic parties," namely PUR and the ethnic Hungarian
party (UDMR). Basescu said he will work to "unite the
Romanian nation," including Romanians living abroad.

The Costs of EU Integration: Informing the People
--------------------------------------------- ----
4. (U) Turning again to EU accession, Basescu said that
Romania's primary foreign policy goal is joining the EU in
2007. He said the process would surely fail if Romania's
leaders do not fully explain to the Romanian people the
costs and implications of integration. As long as the
general public sees "Europe" as a matter of concern only
for the government, fewer and fewer Romanians would support
integration once the costs become clear. He underscored the
need for an integration process with a "unified people who
accept the costs of integration in exchange for the
satisfaction that follows integration."

Combating Poverty
------------------
5. (U) Basescu said that Romania should not be allowed to
"hide poverty behind statistics." He said too many
pensioners receive allotments that are lower than their
monthly bills for winter heating, or electricity, or gas;
too many farmers become poorer and poorer even in years with
good harvests; too many of Romanian youth have begun to
believe that Romania is not a country where they have
opportunities. He said addressing these problems would be
his priority as president. He acknowledged that combating
poverty would have to take into account the realities of the
state budget, but stressed that the country would not
achieve cohesion as long as the state "humiliates millions
of citizens" through poverty.

Securing the Independence of State Institutions
--------------------------------------------- --
6. (U) Basescu announced that he viewed as a "special
priority" the need to remove state institutions from
political influence. State institutions should function
according to the constitution and laws, not through the
"involvement of politicians in justice, police, the
prosecutors office" or other places where "serious issues
concerning the legal process are dealt with." Basescu vowed
to be a president who would "watch over and protect" state
institutions from any kind of political influence. He
cautioned that the replacement of the PSD would not simply
mean the arrival of "new political masters" but that he
would ask all of the leaders of Romania's institutions to
fulfill their duties according to the law.

Corruption: "A threat to National Security"
--------------------------------------------
7. (U) Echoing a theme he iterated during the presidential
campaign, Basescu characterized high-level corruption as a
"threat to national security." He promised to include the
fight against corruption in Romania's National Defense
Strategy. Basescu stressed that key governmental
institutions, including the Justice and Interior Ministries
and national intelligence agencies, would be charged with
battling corruption.

The Transatlantic Relationship: Bucharest-London-Washington
--------------------------------------------- --------------
8. (U) Basescu declared that strengthening Romania's
security relationship with the United States and United
Kingdom is the foundation of Romania's national security
strategy. Hearkening to a theme that he first elaborated
during a nationally televised presidential debate five days
before the December 12 election, Basescu praised the
"Bucharest-London-Washington" alliance. Basescu described
Romanian as a bridge between the western values, as
represented by the EU and NATO, and former communist Eastern
European states. According to Basescu, Romania should
maintain friendly relationships with Russian, Ukraine and
Belarus in order to help provide a "stabilizing force" on
NATO's frontiers. Basescu also observed that Romania and
Moldova (which share a common language, culture and history)
constitute one nation living in two countries and that the
"Romania has the obligation to treat Moldovans as good
Romanians."

Praise from Independent Analysts
---------------------------------
9. (U) Journalist Bogdan Ficeac lauded Basescu for his
insistence that state institutions should strive to be
apolitical, observing that "I haven't heard any other
politician speaking so firmly about this matter.""
Respected NGO Pro Democracy's leader Cristian Pirvelescu
said that depoliticizing state institutions depends on the
"reconstruction of the lawful state," which was not
respected during the PSD rule, when "state institutions were
captive." He also stated that "political equilibrium leads
to economic equilibrium." On the other hand, editorialist
Bogdan Chirieac opined that Basescu's talk of a "Washington-
London-Bucharest" had stirred uncertainty, confusion and
perhaps even annoyance not only in the U.S. and UK, but also
in France and Germany. (Comment: EU Ambassadors here in
Bucharest have been asking the Ambassador and U.K.
Ambassador Quinton Quayle for an explanation for Basescu's
remarks. End Comment)

Comment
-------
10. (SBU) Basescu's speech contained no surprises and
tracked with themes he had stressed during the campaign.
The speech's delivery reflected Basescu's typically up
front, direct speaking style and represented an attempt to
build on the momentum generated by his surprise victory
December 12. Basescu spoke with a victor's confidence: his
insistence on a PNL-PD-led parliamentary government clearly
rejects the possibility of a governing parliamentary
coalition including the PSD.

10. (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams are
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest.
CROUCH
Crouch

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