04BUCHAREST3479 / 2004-12-20 05:36:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BUCHAREST 003479 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/17/2014 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, KDEM, SOCI, ECON, PHUM, RO, biographic information 
Classified By: Political Section Chief Robert S. Gilchrist for Reasons 
1.4 B and D 
1. (SBU) Summary.  In the wake of President-elect Traian 
Basescu,s upset victory over PM Adrian Nastase December 12, 
key members of the center-right National Liberal 
Party-Democratic Party (PNL-PD) Alliance, which Basescu 
heads, have moved to the center of Romania,s political 
stage.  While it is too early to determine precisely what 
roles these key players will assume in a Basescu presidency, 
post presents below brief bios of essential political figures 
within the Alliance, as well as two prominent independents 
with foreign policy credentials.  End Summary. 
Who,s Who in the Liberal Party 
2.  (C) The Alliance,s likely PM designate is respected 
businessman Calin Popescu Tariceanu, a PNL stalwart and 
leading party figure since the early 1990,s.  Within the 
party, Tariceanu is widely viewed as a conciliatory force, 
managing to avoid being too closely identified with any of 
the party,s factions.  Tariceanu has been acting PNL 
President -- and co-leader of the PNL-PD Alliance -- since 
Theodore Stolojan,s unexpected resignation from the 
presidential campaign and PNL leadership October 2. 
Tariceanu was Minister of Commerce and Industry from 1996 to 
1997.  His political adversaries cried foul during his 
ministerial tenure when one of his companies struck a deal 
with the national telecommunications company, RomTeleCom. 
His polished, urbane style coupled with a certain gravitas 
made him a logical pick for PNL-PD Alliance spokesman in 
2003.  Although he lacked the national name recognition of 
the center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) PM designee FM 
Mircea Geoana, Tariceanu,s calm and collected style 
distinguishes him in a political atmosphere often 
characterized by hyperbole and florid rhetoric.  He is a good 
foil for rough-hewn President-elect Basescu.  One criticism 
occasionally aimed at Tariceanu by PNL insiders is that his 
relatively laid back style is perhaps a smidgen too relaxed 
for the hurly-burly of partisan politics; during the 
campaign, for example, Tariceanu reportedly insisted on 
regular rest days.  Tariceanu also is proud of his success as 
a "self made man," having amassed a personal fortune through 
holding an exclusive franchise for Citroen sales in Romania. 
A respected and accessible interlocutor, Tariceanu met 
regularly with PolChief and other Embassy Officers before and 
throughout the campaign.  He speaks excellent English, is 
married and has two children. 
3.  (C) Theodor Stolojan remains a key player within the PNL 
despite his official resignation from the presidential 
campaign and party politics this fall for undisclosed health 
reasons.  On December 16, media reports indicated that 
Basescu had selected Stolojan to be Economic Counselor to the 
President.  Respected even by his political foes, including 
President Iliescu, he, like Tariceanu, is known for his 
bridge building ability in a party (and a nation) often 
notorious for its fractious infighting.  Indeed, Stolojan 
played a central role in reorganizing the PNL following the 
center-right,s electoral debacle in the 2000 general 
elections.  Many within the party felt, however, that the 
urbane, soft-spoken Stolojan lacked sufficient street 
fighting skills to tangle with the powerful PSD machine 
during the 2004 presidential contest. Some Alliance members 
secretly greeted his withdrawal from the campaign in favor of 
the tough talking Basescu with sighs of relief.  At the very 
least, Stolojan will be a trusted adviser to the new 
President. His role may be limited by bona fide health 
problems; some sources cite longstanding kidney ailments as 
the source of his woes.  Prior to his withdrawal from the 
campaign, many observers remarked on his waxen complexion, 
dark circles under his eyes and generally haggard demeanor. 
The Embassy maintains a close relationship with Stolojan and 
he met regularly with the Ambassador prior to his decision to 
pull out of the presidential race.  We expect those good 
relations will continue.  Stolojan was prime minister from 
1991-1992.  He also served as Finance Minister from 
1990-1991.  From 1992-1998 he worked as a Senior Economist at 
the World Bank.  In 2000, he was the PNL candidate in the 
first round of presidential elections. 
4.  (C) Energy mogul Dinu Patriciu, CEO and Chairman of the 
Board of Rompetrol, is one of the PNL,s most controversial 
figures.  A vocal critic of Stolojan,s leadership and the 
PNL,s alliance with PD, Patriciu nevertheless provided 
essential financial support to the Alliance during the 
campaign.  In September 2004, Patriciu and fellow PNL member 
Valeriu Stoica publicly aired the PNL,s dirty linen when 
they demanded more effective party leadership.  Although 
their complaints had little resonance among PNL,s rank and 
file, many observers touted their move as an example of the 
center-right,s historic lack of unity.  The National 
Anti-Corruption Prosecutor,s Office opened an investigation 
against him in summer 2004, but it remains unclear whether 
this was simply politically motivated.  Following the PSD,s 
successful showing in the first round of presidential and 
parliamentary elections, Patriciu and his confidantes were 
frequently cited as possible allies in a PSD-led government. 
Patriciu did nothing to dampen this speculation. 
5. (C) Former PNL President and Justice Minister Valeriu 
Stoica is widely credited as a mastermind behind the 
formation of the PNL-PD Alliance.  However, Stoica was forced 
to resign from PNL,s leadership in 2002 following his 
failure to boost the party,s public opinion ratings.  In the 
wake of the center-right,s 2000 electoral debacle, he 
skirmished constantly with Patriciu over PNL leadership, 
eventually bruiting Stolojan as a compromise candidate.  This 
summer, he again courted controversy by proposing a &swift 
merger8 between PNL and PD ) a step farther than most party 
members are willing to take.  His critics acknowledge his 
brilliant intellect, but observe that he lacks charisma. 
Although Stoica holds no formal position within the party, he 
continues to wield significant political clout and could 
return as Minister of Justice in a future alliance 
government.  The Embassy knows Stoica well, and PolChief and 
others have met with him regularly. 
6. (C) Mona Musca is PNL,s best-known female deputy and, 
together with Basescu and Stolojan, among the Alliance,s 
most popular figures.  A leading critic of corruption and 
widely respected for her own probity, she has proposed 
several bills protecting media freedom and favoring civil 
society.  Her commitment to clean government has earned her 
the nickname of the &First Lady8 of the PNL.  She 
petitioned the PNA to investigate an allegedly corrupt real 
estate transaction involving PM Nastase.  Musca, a valued 
Embassy interlocutor, has been bruited as a possible Culture 
Minister or Labor Minister in an Alliance-led government. 
7.  (C) Ionut Popescu took over the position of PNL-PD 
Alliance spokesman following Tariceanu's step up from 
Alliance spokesman to Alliance PM pick.  The former 
editor-in-chief of &Capital8 magazine and a well-known 
economic analyst and commentator, Popescu entered politics 
after PNL leader Theodor Stolojan asked him to become his 
personal adviser for economic issues.  Not surprisingly, 
Popescu is a strong advocate of a market economy and economic 
reform.  He was second on the Alliance Senate slate for 
8.  (C) Senator and ethnic Armenian Varujan Vosganian first 
entered parliament in 1990 as a representative of the 
Armenian minority.  In 1996, he was a cofounder of the 
Romanian Alternative Party (PAR), joining the PNL after the 
PAR-PNL merger in 2003.  He has served on the PNL Executive 
Bureau since the merger.  Vosganian is one of the authors -if 
not the principal author - of the Alliance's economic 
program.  He is a mathematician and economist by training. 
9.  (C) Soft spoken PNL Senator Gheorge Flutur, one of the 
party's leading electoral strategists and an agricultural 
specialist tops the list of likely choices for Agriculture 
Minister.  Flutur is a &Vice Leader8 of the PNL 
Parliamentary Group.   According to press reports, Flutur 
(along with Mona Musca) is one of the Alliance's top 
negotiators with UDMR and PUR, as PNL-PD aims to entice those 
parties to join a PNL-PD-led government. 
10.  (C) Controversial businessman Viorel Catarama has been 
linked to a series of business scandals, including 
investigations of the &SAFI8 investment fund and a 
furniture factory.  Catarama entered politics in 1990 and 
joined the PNL Youth Wing, that also included Dinu Patriciu 
and Calin Popescu Tariceanu.  He was a Deputy State Secretary 
in the Commerce Ministry in the early 1990,s.  Elected as a 
PNL Senator in 1996, he quit the party in 1999 and ran as an 
independent for Bucharest,s mayor, losing to Basescu. 
Catarama later became Chairman of the Romanian National Party 
(a party subsequently chaired by former Romanian Intelligence 
Agency (SRI) Director Virgil Magureanu) before leaving that 
party and joining the Alliance for Romania (APR) party in 
2000.  He returned in the PNL fold following the PNL-APR 
merger in  January 2002. 
11. (C) PNL Senator and Vice President Teodor Melescanu was a 
diplomat from 1966 to 1996, capping his foreign policy career 
as Foreign Minister from 1992 to 1996.  He entered politics 
as an ally of Ion Iliescu, but broke with Iliescu to form the 
Alliance for Romania (APR) party in 1997.  Following his 
unsuccessful bid for president in 2000 and the PNL-APR 
merger, Melescanu became a PNL Vice President. 
Three Young PNL Voices 
12.  (C)  Three up and coming PNL Members - and valued 
Embassy interlocutors - are new Senator Christian David, 
Deputy Christian Boureanu and Deputy Bogdan Olteanu.  David 
is Director of the PNL,s Department of External Relations 
and was a close advisor to Tariceanu prior to and during the 
campaign.  He remains near the inner-circle of PNL-PD, 
including to Basescu, and is a close and reliable contact for 
the Embassy.  David is a businessman and an economist by 
13.  (C) Deputy Boureanu is a staunch advocate of market 
reform.  A regular Embassy interlocutor, he has complained 
about &old thinking8 among PNL leadership and also lamented 
that members of Romania,s intelligence services engage in 
partisan politics.  The telegenic and articulate Boureanu was 
a ®ular8 on television talk shows during the electoral 
campaign.  He speaks fluent, idiomatic English.  He is a 
graduate of Romania's prestigious National Defense College. 
14.  (C) Deputy Bogdan Olteanu is very close to Alliance PM 
designate Tarticeanu, is chair of the PNL Honor and Mediation 
Council (an intraparty rules and ethics body) and has been 
bruited for a likely high position at a sub-ministerial level 
in a PNL-PD government.  Olteanu is one of two persons the 
PNL-PD has reportedly charged with drafting a "protocol of 
cooperation" if the Alliance can strike a deal with the 
ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) and Humanist Party (PUR).  A 
lawyer by training and a PNL activist since the early 90's, 
he is former President of the PNL Youth Wing. 
Democratic Party Stars 
15.  (C) Cluj Mayor Emil Boc is the best-known PD politician 
after President-elect Basescu.  He is number two in the PD 
hierarchy, after Basescu, holding the title of Executive 
President.  When Basescu is sworn in as President of Romania, 
Boc will take over as PD Acting President until the party 
convention in May 2005.  Boc is a canny politician, respected 
attorney and political science professor who helped establish 
the Political Science and Public Administration Department at 
Babes Bolyai University in Cluj.  Never one to skirt 
controversy, Boc is known for his outspokenness but leavens 
his idealism with pragmatism.  Boc's public performance can 
be uncontrollably garrulous, even erratic, leading one Cluj 
resident to remark that on occasion "he speaks too fast, too 
long and too loud."  In the June 2004 municipal elections, 
Boc defeated both the incumbent mayor, a notoriously 
xenophobic member of Corneliu Vadim Tudor,s extreme 
nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM), and the popular 
ex-PSD Interior Minister Ion Rus.  As a parliamentarian, Boc 
was a moving force behind drafting Romania,s revised 
Constitution in 2003 and anti-corruption legislation.  He 
enjoys good personal and professional relations with Basescu. 
 The President-elect is reportedly the godfather of one of 
Boc,s children, and Basescu recently stated that he would 
like more &Bocs8 in the Alliance.  Boc is a longstanding 
Embassy contact, appreciated for his candor and 
accessibility.  He speaks excellent English. 
16.  (C) A likely Alliance vice premier pick, Adrian Videanu 
is one of PD's richest politicians and currently heads the 
Romanian-American investment fund.  Videanu is one of the few 
parliamentarians to voluntarily leave office in accordance 
with new conflict of interest legislation.  His discretion 
and managerial skills are widely respected across PD-PNL 
ranks.  Videanu is widely regarded as president-elect's right 
hand man and returned to the public spotlight during the 
campaign among Basescu's inner circle of advisors. 
Additionally, Videanu is widely regarded as a source of cash 
) and economic credibility ) for the Alliance. 
17.  (C) Former Industry Minister Radu Berceanu has been 
tarred by corruption scandals, most notably allegations 
involving his involvement with petrochemical company Sunoil. 
The Prosecutor General,s office investigated Berceanu on 
allegations that during his tenure as Industry Minister he 
bled millions of dollars from state-owned petrochemical 
concerns while profits flowed into the coffers of Sunoil. 
Berceanu and three other PD officials denied the allegations 
and the results of the investigation were inconclusive. 
Berceanu is PD Vice Chairman and an influential figure within 
the PD, perhaps because he is a source of funding for the 
18.  (C) Former Minister of Defense (March-December 2000) 
Sorin Frunzaverde often heads the list of names 
most-frequently mentioned as a Defense Minister in an 
Alliance government.  Frunzaverde is a PD Vice Chairman and 
member of the Chamber of Deputies, Defense and Intelligence 
oversight committees.  Many analysts describe his brief 
tenure as Defense Minister as less than stellar.  Moreover, 
Basescu stated during the campaign that he did not want 
members of the 1996-2000 failed center-right government to 
hold ministerial portfolios.  Frunzaverde holds pro-American 
views and is an Embassy interlocutor. 
19.  (C) PD Vice-President Vasile Blaga is widely bruited as 
under consideration for Minister of Administration and 
Interior in a PNL-PD government or as Chief of Presidential 
Administration.  Blaga, a Basescu confidant, is a former 
prefect with an insider's perspective on Romanian local 
administration.  He played a key role in Basescu's successful 
presidential campaign. 
20.  (C) Deputy Cosmin Gusa, like Vasile Blaga and Adrian 
Videanu, is a key member of Basescu's inner circle and a 
trusted adviser.  He is a member of the party's National 
Standing Bureau, was coordinator of the PD's local elections 
campaign in June 2004 and one of the key coordinators for the 
PNL-PD of this year's parliamentary and presidential 
campaigns.  Gusa is, literally, Basescu's right hand man, 
accompanying him virtually everywhere.  He is leader of PD 
MPs in the Chamber of Deputies.  Gusa began his professional 
career working in broadcasting for media magnate and PUR 
leader Dan Voiculescu.  Not surprisingly, he began his 
political career with PUR, but defected to the PSD where he 
rose quickly to prominence.  PM Nastase selected him as the 
PSD's Executive Secretary, which meant he was in charge of 
the party's day-to-day activities.  His defection to PD in 
2003 was a blow to the PSD, as Gusa departed with intricate 
knowledge of the PSD's inner workings.  Since joining the PD, 
Gusa has become a key dealmaker for the Alliance.  He 
recently told post that he would likely remain in the 
parliament for the time being, rather than entering the 
government, as he expected the lack of a clear majority for 
either major party would lead to "turf warfare" between 
PNL-PD and PSD heavyweights bitter they are out of 
government.  Gusa speaks fluent English and spent four months 
in the U.S. in the mid-1990's on a program sponsored by U.S. 
NGO Freedom House.  He meets regularly with PolChief and 
other Embassy interlocutors, as well diplomats from other 
A Husband-Wife Team 
21.  (C) Journalists and married couple Adriana and Claudiu 
Saftoiu, both in their thirties, are trusted Basescu 
counselors who have worked for the President-elect for the 
past several years and are almost certain to play pivotal 
roles in a Basescu administration.  According to press 
reports, Adriana Saftoiu will likely be the Presidency,s 
spokesperson ) a logical choice since she was the press 
officer for Basescu,s winning 2004 mayoral and presidential 
bids and served as government spokesperson in 1999 under the 
center right government.  To be spokesperson, she will need 
to resign her position as a newly elected deputy.  Press 
reports state that Claudiu Saftoiu will probably be the 
Presidency,s political counselor.  Mr. Saftoiu is director 
of Capital Promotion, a political consulting firm, and author 
of a book about the relationship between politicians and the 
mass media.  The Saftoius both helped conceive and execute 
Basescu,s unconventional but successful media messages, 
whose eye catching advertisements during the 2004 mayoral 
campaign, for example, included sepia tinted &retro8 
photographs of Basescu and his team and the image of a red 
hot chili pepper to symbolize Basescu,s outspokenness. 
One Young PD Leader 
22.  (C) In a party known for its relative youth, one  young 
PD leader and valued Embassy contact is new Deputy Roberta 
Alma Anastase.  Anastase is Executive Secretary of the PD 
National Board and Secretary of the PD,s Parliamentary Group 
in the Chamber of Deputies.  She is widely recognized as one 
of PD,s up and coming politicians. 
Independent Foreign Policy Experts 
23.  (C) In support of the alliance's pro-U.S. and pro-EU 
foreign policy, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, an independent, is 
rumored to be among the Alliance,s top choices for Foreign 
Minister.  A former MFA State Secretary, he is a respected 
historian who did postgraduate studies at Oxford.   He 
distinguished himself as one of Romania's top young civil 
servants during his tenure as MFA State Secretary from 1998 
to 2001.  He followed his MFA State Secretary mandate by 
serving as the Special Envoy for the South-East Europe 
Stability Pact Coordinator.  Ungureanu has published numerous 
scholarly articles as well as three historical books.  The 
36-year-old Ungureanu is fluent in English, French, German, 
Italian and Hungarian. 
24.  (C) Another pro-American independent who may figure 
prominently in Basescu,s administration is former Foreign 
Minister Andrei Plesu.  According to press reports, Plesu is 
a likely choice for the Presidency,s Foreign Policy 
Counselor and a senior PD adviser recently confirmed to 
PolChief that Plesu would be an important figure in 
Basescu,s administration.  Although not a member of the PD 
and widely viewed as independent, Plesu was something of a 
protg of former PD leader and ex-PM Petre Roman.  Plesu, a 
dissident in the 1980s, was Culture Minister for almost two 
years in the early 1990,s.  As Foreign Minister from 
1997-1999, Plesu strongly supported Romania,s efforts to 
accede to NATO and took the unpopular position of supporting 
the NATO-led intervention in the former Yugoslavia.  In 1994, 
he founded the New Europe College; Mihai Razvan Ungureanu has 
been among its fellows.  Plesu recently resigned from the 
National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives when 
the Council implausibly cleared extreme nationalist and 
&court poet8 of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, 
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, of charges that he collaborated with 
the communist-era Securitate secret police. 
25. (U) Amembassy Bucharest,s reporting telegrams are 
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: 

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