241186 12/22/2009 13:41 09BUCHAREST857 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED 09BUCHAREST840 VZCZCXRO2975 PP RUEHIK DE RUEHBM #0857 3561341 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 221341Z DEC 09 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0198 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000857
STATE EUR/CE FOR ASCHEIBE
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RO SUBJECT: BASESCU BEGINS SECOND TERM WITH CALLS FOR COOPERATION AND MODERNIZATION
REF: BUCHAREST 840 AND PREVIOUS
1. (U) SUMMARY. On December 21, 2009, Traian Basescu was sworn in for his second five-year term as the President of Romania. In his inaugural address he reaffirmed Romania's strategic alliance with the U.S. as the essential pillar of Romania's foreign policy and called for deeper integration with the European Union. Basescu pledged to remain a tough advocate for reform and modernization of the state while calling for reconciliation among the political parties. The opposition parties remain skeptical of Basescu's newfound spirit of cooperation. The leaders of the Social Democratic (PSD) and National Liberal (PNL) parties have promised to vote against Basescu's prime minister nominee and his proposed cabinet when they come before Parliament on December 23. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) After a hard-fought campaign and narrow electoral victory, Traian Basescu was sworn in for a second five-year term as president on December 21. In his inaugural address, Basescu said that the suspicion and mistrust bred by the vicious election campaign should be put aside, and he urged all political parties, the church, unions, and the Romanian Diaspora to participate in the effort to modernize the country. Basescu said that his priorities are to continue judicial reforms and fight corruption, reform education, modernize agriculture and build infrastructure, and implement the November 22 referendum which called for a unicameral Parliament and a reduction in the number of Parliamentarians to under 300. Basescu recognized that implementing the non-binding referendum would be unpopular in Parliament but noted that Romanians, irrespective of party affiliation, support it, adding that Parliament must implement reforms as soon as possible, or risk "political and moral disqualification." (Note: In the November 22 referendum, 77 percent voted for a one-chamber Parliament and 88 percent for not more than 300 MPs. End Note.)
3. (U) Turning to foreign policy, Basescu declared that "the strategic partnership with the United States remains an essential pillar of Romania's foreign policy," adding that "our attachment to this partnership with America also flows from the admiration for a country that has defended, defends and symbolizes democracy. A close relationship with America brings us stability and safety." Basescu also called for further integration with the European Union and spoke of the need for an increasingly strong relationship with France. (Note: France was reportedly instrumental in securing Romania the consequential Agriculture Commissioner portfolio in the new European Commission. End Note). Finally, Basescu reiterated the importance of Moldova and said that Romania must create the foundation for Moldova's integration into the European Union.
4. (U) Despite Basescu's calls for cooperation, the opposition remains doubtful that Basescu can leave behind the divisive strategies that marked his first term. The PSD and PNL were quick to point out that Basescu has again tapped his loyal side-kick, Emil Boc, as Prime Minister despite the no-confidence motion that brought down the previous Boc Cabinet on 22 October. They also note that Boc's proposed Cabinet is filled with Basescu loyalists such as Elena Udrea and Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) heavyweights like Vasile Blaga and Adriean Videanu. The leaders of both the PSD and the PNL have promised to vote against the proposed Cabinet. Nonetheless, with nine of the 16 ministries filled by members of the ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) and by nominal independents, the Boc Cabinet is likely to garner the necessary support when it goes before Parliament on 23 December. GITENSTEIN