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Opposition Leader Describes "Serious Disequilibrium" in Romania

(Washington, DC--March 25, 2003) "Freedom and liberty are still at risk in Romania" claimed Victor Ciorbea, President of the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNTCD) and Prime Minister of Romania in 1996-98, at a recent briefing at RFE/RL.

In the two years the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) has been in power, said Ciorbea, it has enacted measures to strengthen party control over all levels of society, including the courts, the media, and all levels of economic life. "Parliament has become a simple annex of the Executive," he added, which has used its emergency powers to entrench itself. These actions, Ciorbea said, have undermined democracy, human rights, and the rule of. law.

Ciorbea was especially critical of the problem of corruption. According to various international observers, Romania is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Ciorbea blamed the problem on the predominance of state ownership of business, the weakness of the legislative framework, and weak implementation of those laws that are on the books.

Ciorbea offered his party's program as a remedy for these problems. Its platform calls for the decentralization of decision making and the removal of corrupt party members. He described the PNTCD as "firmly pro-Western and pro American." Ciorbea also pledged that his party would take the internal reform measures needed in order to ease Romania's entry into NATO. The PNTCD was defeated in the national election in 2000, he said, because voters held it responsible for the adverse social consequences of necessary economic austerity measures.

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