05BUCHAREST1563 / 2005-07-13 14:59:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 001563 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/13/2015 
     B. BUCHAREST 1521 
     C. BUCHAREST 1511 
     D. BUCHAREST 1433 
     E. BUCHAREST 1529 
Classified By: Political Section Chief Robert S. Gilchrist for Reasons 
1.4 B and D 
1. (C) Summary:  Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu July 
13 announced he would officially step down from office early 
next week and that the government has begun plans for snap 
parliamentary elections.  The announcement followed a special 
joint session of parliament and a July 12 meeting among 
senior political leaders meant to iron out differences over 
stalled judicial reform legislation.  Ruling 
Liberal-Democratic (PNL-PD) contacts continue to stress that 
the alliance is committed to move forward with new elections. 
 However, the PNL-PD must still secure a majority of votes in 
parliament to force an early poll.  End Summary. 
2. (SBU) In the latest turn in what Romanian media now call 
the "Electoral Crisis," PM Tariceanu reaffirmed July 13 that 
he would officially step down following a planned trip to 
Brussels on July 18.  Tariceanu stated that procedures for 
early elections would also begin at that time.  In explaining 
the rationale for his decision, the PM stressed that the 
PNL-PD does not have a sufficient majority to "permit it to 
make necessary reforms."  He pointed to "insufficient will in 
the Parliament" to foster judicial reform, the issue on which 
his government is basing its decision to move toward new 
3. (C) Tariceanu also asserted that none of the conditions 
were met that he had set the night before during the meeting 
of senior political leaders convened by President Traian 
Basescu (Ref A).  These conditions included meaningful 
judicial reform, amendment of the law governing the 
Constitutional Court, and a national referendum to modify the 
constitution to allow the Parliament to overrule the Court. 
According to Embassy contacts, Tariceanu's commitment to 
forcing new elections had never wavered.  Sources in both the 
presidential palace and prime minister's office tell us that 
snap elections are "more likely than ever." 
Where There's a Will, There's a Way? 
4. (C) Tariceanu's statement followed 24-hours of intense 
political negotiations, many of which were ostensibly 
intended to resolve the impasse precipitating calls for 
elections.  According to Embassy contacts, the meeting 
convened by President Basescu late July 12 did not address 
core concerns in any substantial way.  According to senior 
Democratic Party (PD) deputy Cristian Radulescu, the 
lawmakers merely agreed to devise new legislation that would 
pass constitutional muster.  Other individuals present said 
that Basescu urged parliament to "find a way" to pass justice 
reform legislation.  Indeed, Basescu declared at the 
beginning of the meeting "solutions can be found if there is 
political will" to do so.  One Embassy contact cynically 
noted there was "no will on either side."  The PNL-PD 
"clearly wanted new elections;" the PSD was unwilling, if not 
incapable, of overriding the Constitutional Court decision 
and meeting all of the PNL-PD's demands. 
5. (C) According to PNL senator Nicolae Popa and other 
contacts, PNL and PD leaders caucused "all night" July 12 to 
devise ways to pass justice reform legislation - and to 
discuss the overall political situation.  By early morning, 
they were "even more convinced of the need for new 
elections."  The morning of July 13, senior Presidential 
Advisor Claudiu Saftoiu stated matter-of-factly to PolChief 
that the President will announce the interim cabinet 
following Tariceanu's July 18 resignation.  He said Basescu 
would offer his "fullest support" to the caretaker government 
and that there would be "absolutely no interruption" in 
meeting obligations for EU accession or for providing what he 
characterized as "a stable environment for international 
6. (C) The afternoon of July 13, Parliament voted in joint 
session to adopt a "re-phrased" version of the justice reform 
legislation.  Delegate Minister and PNL-PD deputy Cristian 
David told PolChief that none of the revisions adequately 
addressed the government's concerns, but that it was better 
than nothing.  In any event, David said the PNL-PD is "still 
intent on elections." 
Iliescu Reemerges 
7. (C) Press commentators and Embassy contacts continued to 
note internal divisions within the PSD, with competing 
factions in the party supporting or opposing new elections. 
Most notably, however, former President Ion Iliescu has 
reemerged publicly to a degree not seen since his 
unsuccessful bid for the party leadership in April.  His 
primary tack has been to criticize the PNL-PD and Basescu for 
focusing on partisan politics at a time when the country is 
beset by torrential flooding in several areas.  Iliescu 
publicly urged Tariceanu to renounce his decision to resign - 
and called on Basescu, in coordination with the Supreme 
Council for National Defense (CSAT), to declare a "state of 
emergency" in response to the flooding.  Iliescu noted that 
the Constitution forbids dissolution of parliament during a 
state of emergency.  Nastase also told journalists that he 
opposed early elections.  PSD President Mircea Geoana, 
however, reaffirmed that the party is "ready" for early 
8. (C) Comment:  Tariceanu's confirmation of his resignation 
moves Romania closer to new elections.  However, neither he 
nor his alliance have charted a clear path for overcoming the 
constitutional hurdles that must be crossed in coming weeks. 
This will require creative politicking, with risk at any 
juncture of being derailed by small parties opposed to 
elections, fatigued legislators, last minute dealmaking, or a 
public backlash against what may appear to be cynical 
political maneuvering.  End Comment. 
9. (U) Amembassy Bucharest,s reporting telegrams are 
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: 

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