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Romanian Nationalists Make Comeback In European Vote

CHISINAU -- The European Parliament elections in Romania saw a return of two controversial nationalist leaders who failed to gain election to the national parliament last fall, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

George "Gigi" Becali, is the leader of the right-wing New Generation party, but ran for the European Parliament on the list of the nationalist Greater Romania party.

Becali, who is currently banned from leaving Romania pending a corruption investigation, is the owner of Romania's best-known soccer club, Steaua Bucharest.

Becali, 51, is well-known for his anti-Semitic and homophobic views and also for the poor grammar in his speeches.

The second ultranationalist to make a comeback on June 7 was Corneliu Vadim Tudor, 60, the controversial journalist turned politician who has never hidden his ties with the former communist secret police, the Securitate.

His Greater Romania party was a major player in Romanian politics in the 1990s but gradually lost its appeal, which had been largely based on warning Romanians against alleged plots by ethnic Hungarians and the Hungarian state itself to recapture Transylvania, which became part of Romania at the end of World War I.