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Romania: Making Sense Out Of Left And Right

Prague, 1 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The leader of the Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, reportedly has been a guest in Strasbourg at the Congress of the French National Front.

The National Front (NF) is the French party that reelected Jean-Marie Le Pen its leader. It is widely regarded as belonging to the extreme right of the French political spectrum. Tudor, a Romanian senator, was granted the privilege of addressing the congress. He told the delegates that the Greater Romania Party (PRM) holds the same ideas as the NF does. Tudor proposed a brotherhood alliance between the parties. .

But from Bucharest comes a report that the PRM is about to ally itself with the Socialist Labor Party (PSM). Such an alliance might be motivated by a wish to unite Romania's forces on the left. This is part of growing evidence that an alliance once known in Romania as the "Red Quadrangle" may be re-establishing itself.

All this has left some Romanian and Western observers puzzled. Is the PRM a party of the extreme right? Its alliance with Le Pen and its xenophobic and antisemitic positions suggest that the answer is yes. Or is it a formation belonging to the left? The simple, and correct, answer is both.

The PRM should be viewed as a party of what our corespondent calls "radical continuity." It has roots in the legacy of former President Nicolae Ceausescu's National Communism. Parties of radical continuity and fascist-like bodies share many things in their respective ideologies. They are anti-individualistic and anti-democratic. They display nationalism based on exclusion, rather than inclusion, of all citizens.

Le Pen has been searching for allies in Eastern Europe for some time now. And it is not surprising that he finds them among people such as Tudor, Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Russia, and the Hungarian, Istvan Csurka.