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Friday, November 19, 2004
Business in Romania blog
President Ion Iliescu who is going to be back as president of the Social Democratic Party after his term ends on the November 28, made several controversial declarations in the past few days, setting both opposition and journalists on fire.

Iliescu said two days ago that the issue of paying Rafo debts with taxpayers' money is "fiddlesticks."

"Everything is from the taxpayers. Stop bringing up such nonsense as 'with the tax payers' money'. Anything is from the budget, any state effort is with money from taxpayers, but this is how you build the country, this is how you build national economy - through the contribution of taxpayers. Why do you come up with such theories?!"

Earlier this week, when journalists asked him if it was legal for the president to get involved in the elections campaign, as he is supposed to be neutral, Iliescu responded, "I'm not Switzerland!"

During his visit in Calarasi County, he criticized the locals for voting for the Liberal Democratic Alliance in the local elections this summer.

And yesterday, while visiting the town of Cimpina, Iliescu said he doesn't care about the media criticizing him, "The dogs bark and the caravan passes."

The president was apparently referring to a recent article that appeared in one of the national newspapers and included an alleged transcript of a private conversation Iliescu had with Russian former president Mihail Gorbachev in 1991.

Iliescu said he is no longer impressed by what the press writes about him and referred to such stories as folly and nonsense.

During his visit to Cimpina, where he was accompanied by the local parliament candidates of the Social Democratic-Humanist (PSD+PUR) Union, Iliescu met with local pensioners and told them that the man who will be elected head of state must be a balanced, clear-thinking person who understands well international relations.

Romanian Press Club president Cristian Tudor Popescu said, "Dogs not only bark, they also bite. And the caravan is not the only one passing. Time is also passing, and that the president will soon see."

Journalist Ion Cristoiu said he, as a journalist, is not offended by Iliescu's words, "It's his right to care or not to care about what the media says. If he thinks he will not need the media, when he becomes PSD president, it's his business."

Cristoiu also added his own version of the popular saying,"Politicians bark, journalist go ahead."

Liviu Mihaiu, journalist at the weekly Academia Catavencu said, "With all due respect we owe our president, I think Ion Iliescu understands democracy as much as his barber does. Anyway, Iliescu is a historic notion that you just can't comment on."

Academia Catavencu journalist and head of the Media Monitoring Agency, Mircea Toma rephrased Iliescu's words saying "the media barks, the poor and honest president passes, but he's pulling along a pack of greedy people, who have reached a degree of opulence beyond imagination."

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 11/19/2004 03:29:00 pm Journalists bark, the president keeps going
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