Sunday, 30 June 2013

Traian Basescu displays again his political originality by replacing the Romanian people with Roma ethnicity

Traian Basescu displays again his political originality by replacing the Romanian people with Roma ethnicityThe Romanian President Traian Basescu has set up a financial and political plan to bring together millions of Roma citizens with voting rights. The common Roma citizens will be incented to "register" with an organization, will be given membership cards and identity documents will be provided to those who do not have. The Personal Numeric Code will be the next step after the membership cards, allowing them to use the ne identity card to vote. The same system is already in place for citizens wishing to obtain Hungarian citizenship. We are 2.6 million less Romanians, while the number of Roma citizens has been constantly growing. According to the most recent census, carried two years ago, there are 619,000 Roma citizens in Romania, which counts for 3.2% of the stable population of Romania. However, according to the World Bank the number of Roma citizens in Romania exceeds 3 million, which makes a quarter of the 13 million Roma citizens in Europe. The significant number of Roma people may represent an useful political mass to any party or political candidate able to handle them in order to obtain their votes, especially if we take into account that more than 80% of the Roma people live below the poverty line.
Traian Basescu is well aware of this fact from his past political campaigns when Florin Cioaba acted as his electoral agent. Currently deprived of the PDL political strength, the Head of State will build a new electoral mass based on the support of the Roma people in the near European Parliament elections, where his own youngest daughter is a candidate. Elena Basescu (EBA) understood the importance of the Roma votes, hence decided to support  King Cioaba in his action to "register" each Roma citizen and grant membership cards. As a living proof of her support to the Roma citizens, Elena Basescu declared at the beginning of this month at the International Roma Congress that the Roma people should have property deeds for their houses. It is not only EBA who is in need of the Roma political support but also other people close to the President who will try to gain a new seat in the European Parliament, such as Monica Macovei and Cristian Preda. The significant mass of voters will serve not only to the potential EP members but also to the members of the "Popular Move" Foundation. This is the method of Traian Basescu to set the ground for all his Presidential Advisors and other people with political aspirations who registered in the "Popular Move", so that they can rely on  millions of Roma votes in the near elections when the foundation becomes a political party. Therefore, Traian Basescu shall have the support of the Roma voters to replace the PDL votes.
Massive Financial Support
A strong electoral mass does not mean too much in the absence of an adequate financial support. Traian Basescu started building a political financial scheme since he was a Minister of Transport, using financially influential people to direct the votes of the ethnical minorities. Gruia Stoica, the brain of the Toflea Roma people, is an example of how a highly influential businessman on the mass of voters may become a good electoral agent in exchange for economic advantages. That is the explanation of the fact that people close to the President pulled some strings to help the Galati-based businessman obtain some good contracts with the State, including with CFR Marfa (Romanian Railway Freight Transport Company). Anca Boagiu, Radu Berceanu and Relu Fenechiu, during their terms as Ministers of Transport, helped Gruia Stoica grow his business. The Galati-based businessman started making money from the scrap iron trade, taken by Roma people from the Galati Steel Works. Although the new Galati Steel Works management stopped the scrap iron sale in Toflea area, Gruia Stoica found other places in Romania where the scrap iron trade is still an easy money method, despite the fact that it is illegal most of the times. Gruia Stoica is also likely to provide financial and political support to Traian Basescu and the people close to him by the potential purchase of the Rapid Football Club, so much liked by the CFR. The financial resources of Elena Udrea matter as well for a potential political group established by Traian Basescu upon his break-up with the PDL. A political relaunch of the President is likely to provide his former protégée Elena Udrea the political support she has been lately deprived of in the PDL Modrogan Headquarters. Elena Udrea, during her mandate as Minister of Tourism and Regional Development, invested heavily in the areas where mass of voters were located, with the sole purpose of using them in the elections. Dorin Umbrarescu, close to the Head of State, recently obtained the ATE Bank management. The banking institution is likely to serve Traian Basescu and the people close to him to running their businesses without too much of a hassle.
Florin Cioaba: "We shall support our members, including financially"
"These membership cards will be issued by International Romani Union organization, with branches all over the world. I have been Vice-President of the Union since 2000 and I have been elected President this year. These membership cards are granted on request to members of our organization. These cards are similar to passports. We shall open support and guidance centres in all European continents as well as on other continents. Should a Roma citizen need guidance in order to find a job, for instance, to obtain some legal documents, for embassy or consulate lobby, emergency support in extreme cases or even financial... we shall vouch for these members, we do not simply give them membership cards, which will be a support wherever Roma citizens are. We currently have more than 100,000 members all over the world. Whoever wants to become a member must have a clean criminal record. No embassy or consulate supports the Roma citizens, that is why we decided to open these centres. The guidance centres in Europe will try to find jobs to our members. The Romanian State is now waiting for European money to issue identity cards to Roma people. This is not normal. We shall raise the funds from our membership fees and donations. We have a committee made of businessmen who own companies and who will support this organization and make donations themselves. There is an 100 EUR yearly membership fee", declared Florin Cioaba for ZIUAnews.
II. Base and his Roma keenness
Foreign Attack
Traian Basescu understood he had lost all domestic power and strings to pull after having used them so cleverly in previous years and that his only chance to maintain his ability to put pressure on the political class and consequently on the Romanian electorate was to use foreign help. His experiment of last Summer worked successfully and the results hereof were outstanding. By having highly situated EPP members in the European Council and European Parliament stand up for him along with a strong media campaign carried by the press close to him and his own EMPs, Traian Basescu managed to force the current Power and to enforce the rules of the game. Thus, he returned to Cotroceni Presidential Palace, despite an impressive number of Romanian citizens having voted him out. Should Basescu be no longer able to make his voice heard in Brussels and Strasbourg through his protégés, his ability to influence the European attitude towards Romania becomes minor. Hence his strong wish to help some of his protégés win EMP seats. Monica Macovei, seen in some circles the symbol of fight against corruption, Cristian Preda and his loud voice or even Teodor Baconschi, all seen as voices of Romanian intellectuals, or even Elena Basescu, despite her multiple previous mistakes, will represent strong voices in the European space. Anca Boagiu, Vice-President of the EPP, is able as well to influence the EPP leaders who are currently holding key-positions in many European bodies.
 Countless Gifts from the Big Boss
One of the objectives of Traian Basescu and his family has been to grow close relationships with members of the Roma minority. The Head of State took all opportunities to attend Roma festivals, to be greeted with bread and salt, to dance an party and receive small gifts. The Roma people also took good care of the wife of the President, whom they dressed in traditional Roma outfits and to whom they gifted gold coins. Mircea Basescu, brother to the Romanian President, also has close relationships with highly influential Roma people. Bercea Mondialu - currently behind bars for attempted murder against his own nephew, for tax evasion, money laundering and scams- declared at some point that he would have liked the Romanian President to become godfather of his own granddaughter. Since he could not get the President, he settled with the brother of the latter, who accepted the task immediately. "I did not meet Mircea Basescu prior to the baptism of my granddaughter. I did not have access to the President, to ask him to become the godfather of my granddaughter", Sandu Anghel a.k.a. Bercea Mondialu said. Although Bercea Mondialu ended it in jail, most of his clan members managed to close dozens of criminal files they were part of. Some of the allegations included money laundering, scams, tax evasion, illegal VAT reimbursement, bribery, attempted murder, rape, theft, wounding with intent, driving without a driving license, driving under influence or with false plates. However, the tightest relationships are between the Roma people and the daughter of the President, Elena Basescu (EBA), who opened her EMP office in Sibiu, the same city where the "royal palace" of Florin Cioaba is located. Not only that Elena Basescu attended the 8th Congress of International Romani Union organized by Cioaba in Sibiu and endorsed his ideas of membership cards, but she also started to lobby in the European Parliament, where pictures were taken of EBA together with the self-claimed king of the Roma people. EBA proposed the European Parliament that all political parties in Romania offer a position for the Roma people in the European elections. More, she suggested that all countries that do not adopt this proposition lack the European attitude. "It does matter how the Roma citizens are treated. That is why I would recommend that, in the next European Parliament elections, all parties provide an eligible position to a Roma citizen. (...) I would like to think that this will be a successful strategy all over the European Union, but seeing the popular and deeply non-European reaction of certain governments when Romania and Bulgaria were proposed to adhere to the Schengen space, I shall not hold my breath", Elena Basescu declared when speaking in the European Parliament. Nevertheless, Traian Basescu showed his real opinion on the Roma people, much less flattering, when he thought he was out of the limelight- the "stinky gypsy" episode. The said episode proved clearly he simply used the Roma people for political gains.
The "Popular Move" Shield
The name was registered with the OSIM (State Office for Inventions and Trademarks) as early as 2011 by Ioana Basescu, eldest daughter of the President. Soon after the public break-up between the President and his former PDL, Presidential Advisor Cristian Diaconescu announced the establishment of the "Popular Move" Foundation, later joined by other presidential advisors as well. Traian Basescu admitted the foundation was his idea and declared he would support it as long as it does not become a political party. It is quite easy to understand the reason of the President: the Constitution bans the President from supporting or becoming a member of any political party. Should the Popular Move Foundation become a political party, there will be sufficient legal grounds for a new impeachment of the President.
III. Good Money for a New Political Construction: Old Gold Coins
The "Locomotive" of Power
Gruia Stoica (pictured below) managed to make an EUR 450 million fortune, taking into account that the revenue of Grupul Feroviar Roman nearly tripled during the PDL Governments. The President would definitely use his support in developing and improving various political constructions he controlled in recent years. It is not only the financial support disguised in donations that the President would find useful, but also the votes the employees of the tycoon may bring. The companies owned and controlled by Gruia Stoica and his brother Vasile Didila currently employ tens of thousands of people, carrying contracts not only in Romania but also in Moldova, Serbia and Hungary, all states politically close to Traian Basescu. By 2001 Gruia Stoica established a network that traded scrap iron from the former Galati Steel Works. The Roma people in Toflea area cut scrap iron and sold it to several collection centres controlled by the Stoicas. As of 2001, when the Galati Steel Works was privatized, the scrap iron business was replaced with the freight and passenger railway transport. Gruia Stoica started Grupul Feroviar Roman in the same year, the same company which later bought the tender book for the auction of the CFR Marfa (Railway Freight Transport Company). During the execution of the contracts between Grupul Feroviar Roman and CFR Marfa, it has always been the private company Grupul Feroviar Roman that was prosperous and the state owned CFR Marfa that buried in debts. Therefore, the state owned company lost several auctions to Grupul Feroviar Roman. Subsequent to winning the auction, the private company hired CFR Marfa as subcontractor, while the private company was busy spending the EUR millions. Gruia Stoica enjoyed the support of the Minister of Transport, regardless the name hereof: Anca Boagiu, Radu Berceanu or Relu Fenechiu.
Fenechiu comes to rescue
Sorin Chinde is the Director General of Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR), part of Grampet Group, and also former Director of CFR Calatori (Romanian Railway Transport), while his wife Cristina Cintia Chinde is the current Commercial Director of the state-owned CFR Calatori. Cristina Chinde is responsible for the price policy of CFR Calatori and, according to information in the possession of ZIUAnews, the prices are always in favour of GFR. When CFR Calatori and GFR both participate in an auction, the privately-owned GFR representatives always know before the auction the offer that the state-owned CFR Calatori will come up with. It is hardly a coincidence that Relu Fenechiu, the current Minister of Transport, appointed in the management positions of CFR Marfa and CFR Calatori people obedient to the former Democrat-Liberal government, like George Micu, protégé of Anca Boagiu, Denisa Filipescu or Cristian ghibu. Another controversial decision made by the Minister of Transport in the privatization of CFR Marfa, so much wanted by Gruia Stoica, was to hire "Musat and Associates", law firm that also represents the interests of the Galati-based businessman. In addition to the favours made to Grampet Group by representatives of the Romanian state, helping Grampet make fortunes and Romania lose good money, Gruia Stoica and his two foundations Toflea and Grampet were given state-owned buildings to use as premises.
Elena Udrea Remains Close
"The King of the Wagons" is a protégé of Udrea-Cocos family. During the mandate of Missis Udrea as Minister of Regional Development and Tourism, between 2009-2012, several companies controlled by Democrat-Liberals gained tremendous amounts from contracts with the state. Some of these companies went as far as to receive advance payments for potential works. More, Elena Udrea was accused of having purchased goods or services for exorbitant prices. Also during the mandate of Missis Udrea several areas of Romania received larger stakes of the state budget than others, sometimes for projects that were not even necessary. Coincidently, these areas are the same areas where the traditional voters of Traian Basescu were amassed.   
Umbrarescu - From King of the Road to Banker
As recent as one week ago, Dorin Umbrarescu, another protégé of President Basescu made a sudden career change. From road rehabilitation works, he switched to banking assets and liability. Umbrarescu purchased 93.27% of the ATE Bank shares, some would say a rather bold step in these times of economic downturn. The potential purchase of the majority of shares of ATE Bank was rumoured last autumn, when a group of ten businessmen, including Gruia Stoica, was said to be willing to take over the banking institution. The majority shareholder of a bank is able to control all financial resources and to work their way in promoting and developing businesses.
Betting on Football
The football teams of Dinamo and FC Brasov have always had the electoral logo of PDSR on their shirts. Ceahlaul, football team controlled by Pinalti, changed their colours from yellow-black to orange. Traian Basescu could not have missed the emotional and media impact of the football matches and went out in the limelight twice. In his own chameleonic and effective way, the President initially supported Rapid football team, while Mircea Lucescu was the coach of the team under the Grant bridge. We still have from that period the VIP part of the stadium and a legend according to which President Basescu attempted to land himself a plane that was flying to Bacau, courageous action due to the "liquor" hospitality of Rapid Football Club owner, George Copos. The President later supported another football team that was very successful in 2006, Steaua, by publicly displaying himself along with Gigi Becali at Golden Blitz restaurant while celebrating the qualification of the team in the  UEFA Semifinals. At this moment the situation tends to repeat, the President starts supporting a football team again, through Gruia Stoica, who conducts at this moment advanced negotiations with George Copos for taking over Rapid football team. It goes without saying that such a move would make the numerous Rapid fans support the resident of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
From restaurant tables to the masses
Basescu is once again in the situation to gather votes from football tribunes. He initially tried it with Steaua and at this point he moved to Giulesti. It is a deeply surprising move, considering it is so illogical and such a display of opportunism that football supporters will definitely punish. The President acts the same way in the football tribunes as he does with his fellow politicians: inconstantly and unscrupulously. The large mass of football supporters has been loyal to the same football team for generations, inheriting the passion from parents and grandparents, thus making it likely to reject Basescu due to their emotional inertia. No supporter of Rapid football team will like Basescu if they keep any memory of the sudden change of former sailor Basescu, when he switched from the Rapid cherry-coloured shirt to the red-blue Steaua shirt. In the times when Basescu strongly needed the support of Steaua fans, he declared publicly that he was a Steaua supporter. His sudden and risky move is a clear sign that the President finds himself in offside after losing his traditional supporters, and now sees no way out.
Money + Votes + Influence = POWER
According to his own declaration, Traian Basescu will remain in politics upon completion of his mandate. However, after the break-up with the PDL, it became impossible for Basescu to perform at the high level he aimed. Thus came the need for a new political construction. The plan that the President is said to have thought is unique and extremely well thought, the first goal being to obtain European Parliament seats. Gruia Stoica and other influential Roma businessmen, who have run highly profitable businesses with the state in recent years, are able to provide the financial support of the political construction. It is worth mentioning that most people who ran the Ministry of Transport were protégés of Basescu, like Radu Berceanu or Anca Boagiu. The so-called "purchase" of a commercial bank by another controversial character who also benefitted from state contracts and the establishment of very discreet low-profile foundations also indicate a potential money route. The expected votes are likely to come from the Roma community, controlled by the organization run by Florin Cioaba and thoroughly verified through the "passport type membership cards". The votes of football supporters, due to the purchase of football clubs, as well as the employees of companies like CFR Marfa, will also count to a significant extent. The outcome of the vote will also depend on the influence of politicians like Teodor Baconschi or William Branza, who are likely to bring votes from Romanians living abroad. The four ladies who will bring in their contribution are Elena Basescu, Monica Macovei, Elena Udrea and Anca Boagiu, by being the visible part of the political construction. Monica Macovei and Anca Boagiu will be also able to influence important European leaders, Elena Udrea is likely to be the representative of the President in the domestic political world and to control a series of highly profitable businesses, while EBA may be used as the fresh face of the new party. It is also worth mentioning that President Basescu still holds great influence on the Foreign Intelligence Service, unlike his now damaged relation with the Romanian Intelligence Service. Once Basescu manages to obtain the desired number of trusted European Parliament members, he will be able again to take a seat at the negotiation table, making it possible for the Popular Move to become a shelter for all the people close to Basescu after the presidential elections of 2014.
The Hungaro-Moldavian Precedent
The "scheme" so carefully put together by President Basescu is inspired from a similar manoeuvre of the Hungarian orange government. In January 2011 a law became effective in our neighbouring state, aiming at a massive increase of the Hungarian citizens. According to the new law provisions, any citizen of the world that speaks Hungarian and is able to prove that they have a Hungary-born ancestor prior to 1920 or between 1938-1945 is entitled to be granted Hungarian citizenship. More than 300,000 Romanians have so far applied for Hungarian citizenship. Traian Basescu similarly created a significant number of voters, making it very easy for many citizens of the Republic of Moldova to obtain Romanian citizenship. Certain European bodies harshly criticized the initiative and several states, including France or the Netherlands, considered the initiative a fair ground to delay the adhesion of Romania to the Schengen area.    
The Police is by our side
As of the beginning of the first mandate of Traian Basescu as President of Romania, each Minister of Interior, irrespective of the political parties he was coming from, enjoyed privileged relationships with the President.  During this time there were numerous scandals between the gypsy clans. The civil society reacted, accusing authorities of lack of reaction. There were also European reactions when a leader of the Roma people in Italy, Costica Argint, wanted by Interpol, had a friendly chat with the Romanian PM, Minister of Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs during a trip to Italy of the Romanian Government members, aimed precisely at lowering the number of Romanian citizens crimes. Ioan Rus - despite being a member of a political party "rival" to Traian Basescu, the leader of the "Cluj Group" is seen by many of his party colleagues as the protégé of Traian Basescu. Vasile Blaga- "The Roma people are Romanian citizens and, should they possess legal travel documents and not be accused of having violated the French or Romanian legislation, we think that they enjoy the full freedom of movement within the EU." Traian Igas- "We are deeply concerned by the problems of the Roma community. I believe the Roma issue to be an European issue. Romania is a member state of the European Community, aiming at a future adhesion to the Schengen area. The issue should equally concern the destination countries of the Roma citizens. I think these countries as well should attempt to integrate the Roma citizens in their communities, should the Roma citizens have the legal status allowing them to live and work in the destination country", Igas said. Marian Saniuta and Gabriel Oprea were also much liked by President Basescu while they ran the Ministry of Interior. Cristian David, Liviu Dragnea, Dan Nica or Gabriel Berca, who did not enjoy privileged relationships with President Basescu, did not manage to run the Ministry of Interior longer than a few months.


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