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More Voices Joining Extremist Chorus

The latest opinion polls reveal a significant rise of extremist parties. Greater Romania Party (PRM) and New Generation Party (PNG) total some 20 per cent of the vote intentions. An alarming score, particularly since – ahead of the prospective EU accession – their share is likely to continue to grow, as it happened in the other former communist states accepted in the European family in previous years.

Yesterday’s friends, today’s foes

After having considered the option of an alliance for several months, the “friendship” between the two parties seems to be over. Leaders of the two parties Corneliu Vadim Tudor and Gigi Becali swore at each other like blazes, throwing very serious accusations at one another. It was in fact hard to believe that the two might get along and forge a lasting alliance. Neither Vadim Tudor nor Gigi Becali can stand being criticised. The faintest shadow of a doubt as to their intellectual and human competences may trigger rejoinders way out of line. One can always expect Vadim or Becali to jump at somebody’s throat. One can always expect the “voice of the people” or the “shepherd” to slander somebody in prime time, as both have unlimited access to certain TV stations.

Neither Vadim nor Becali are in the least open to dialogue. “The Sun is Me,” they must tell themselves in the mirror every morning.

Football and scandal, political launch pads

We will not make an attempt at analysing the political language of the two, as it is quite evident that they are exclusively based on primitive nationalism and cheap populism. Quite recently in fact, when RAFO became the sponsor of Steaua football club, Gigi Becali was publicly making electoral calculations as to how this partnership can bring him some more votes. It’s no secret that Steaua was used by Becali as a political launch pad. He seizes every opportunity to speak about the “image” that one of the flagship teams of the Romanian football had secured him, and bluntly admits that he has no idea of the club’s history or past performances.In fact, some others have tried to use football as a launch pad to the political community. Vadim himself used pretty much the same “tactics.” He relied heavily on the rise of gutter-press “România Mare” magazine, which in the early ’90s was used by the Iliescu regime to muffle political opponents. The filth published by Vadim at the time is famous, and so is the fact that he was used as a mouthpiece by the former Militia and political police. The “collaboration” continues to this day.

Both Vadim and Becali have so far been used by various people in various political schemes. For some time, however, the two seem to have got out of control. They already smell the sweet scent of power. Their human structure makes them feel they are riding the winning horses. White ones, naturally.

No programmes

Neither Vadim nor Becali have political programmes. Not even rough drafts. Their electoral “mottos” refer to “dismantling the Mafia,” and turning Romania into “a country like the holy Sun in the sky.” To end corruption? “Executions in stadiums,” Vadim says. “Wealth appropriation,” says the same, while the newcomer from Pipera says roughly the same. For the rest, Vadim seasons his message with curses against national minorities, and never tires to remind us how “good” late Ceauşescu was.

Vadim’s “ultimate argument” is that PRM has never been in Power, and it should therefore be voted. Only partly true. PRM was part of the notorious “red rectangle” that backed the Văcăroiu Cabinet.

Gigi Becali has fewer ideas than the “Tribune,” the former dependable scribbler of the Communist Party for “Săptămâna” weekly, where he wrote what Securitate chiefs ordered.

The referees

Given the prospective rise of PRM and PNG a working hypothesis would be that the two parties will be in a position to tip the scales for the right or the left in the next elections. Jointly, or individually. Or they may be a governing partner for PSD, taking into account their past political affinities. Corneliu Vadim Tudor is the offspring of FSN, the forefather of today’s PSD, while Gigi Becali has long been guided by the “grey eminence” of Iliescu, Geoană and Năstase’s party, i. e. Viorel Hrebenciuc. This alliance will be a bitter pill for PSD. The strategists in Kisellef are very likely calculating already various prospective political combinations. A circumstantial “ally” may be UDMR, “used” by both PSD and the D.A. Alliance. But UDMR’s electoral contribution may prove insufficient, under the current circumstances. In this case, PNG may be the only option left, as Corneliu Vadim Tudor’s hatred of Magyars is well known.

The fact is that the two populist and extremist parties, which have no programme and are reluctant to Romania’s EU accession, may be in a position to have a say in the next elections after the prospective integration.

Common ground

Nonetheless, in spite of the war between Gigi Becali and Corneliu Vadim Tudor, there seem to be more common ground than diverging views between the two. They share more or less openly stated affinities with the extreme right. They are both loud-mouthed and use a retrograde nationalism. They are both within the area of influence of the circle around Josif Constantin Drăgan, no. 2 in the Top 300 Richest Romanians, and active supporter of the extreme right. The two, Vadim and Gigi Becali, make use of the same “political weapon”: foul language.

Operating around the two is about the same camarilla. One of the brains of the movement is Ioan Coja, head of Vatra Românească, and one of the leaders of the group denying the Holocaust in Romania. He writes in “România Mare,” but draws up political projects for Gigi Becali. He was the one to scheme the short-lived alliance between PNG and Noua Dreapt?, a fascist movement which uses the swastika as a symbol.

In short, PRM and PNG converge in brutal and vulgar extremism.(A. B.)

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