80642 10/4/2006 12:59 06BUCHAREST1541 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 06BUCHAREST1540 VZCZCXRO9373 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #1541 2771259 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 041259Z OCT 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5297 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 001541
DEPT FOR EUR/NCE AARON JENSEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2016 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, SOCI, RO SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT VOTES IN NEW HEADS OF INTELLIGENCE SERVICES
REF: BUCHAREST 1540
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark A. Taplin for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (SBU) The Romanian Parliament, in a joint session October 4 confirmed with a comfortable majority the new heads of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE). The new SRI director will be George Maior, a senator from the main opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) and a former deputy minister of defense in the PSD-led government between 2001 and 2004. Maior received 285 "yes" votes, with 123 legislators voting against him. The new SIE director is Claudiu Saftoiu, a senior presidential advisor and a former journalist. Saftoiu received 294 "yes" votes, with 114 voting against.
2. (SBU) The Greater Romania Party (PRM) voted as a bloc against the two nominations, the National Liberal Party voted against Maior, but for Saftoiu, whereas the Conservative Party voted for Maior and against Saftoiu. In his acceptance speech, Maior called for greater parliamentary control over the intelligence services. Saftoiu in very brief comments remarked tersely that he would prove during his mandate that he is a &faithful Romanian.8
3. (C) All parties except the ethnic Hungarian UDMR had announced prior to the vote how they would vote, and the remaining question was whether party discipline would hold up in a secret ballot. The vote tallies suggest that the ethnic UDMR and independent deputies and the representatives of ethnic minorities voted for the two candidates, giving Basescu a comfortable winning margin. The PSD faction supporting party President Geoana will also be pleased with the outcome. The fact that the PNL focused criticism against Maior implicitly gives credence to rumors that there was a deal with the President on the draft National Security Law now being debated in Parliament (reftel). Basescu once again demonstrated his mastery of the Romanian political game, outflanking his opponents (including the Prime Minister,s entourage) and forcing them into a reactive stance. End comment.