Romania Elects Pro-Gay, Anti-Corruption President
Gay News, December 13, 2004
BUCHAREST—Traian Basescu, the
leader of the opposition, has been declared the new President of Romania,
defeating the “leftist” Adrian Nastase, the Prime Minister.
The election victory gives hope to the Romanian gay
community as Basescu is one of the few politicians in the country to publicly
support gay rights.
His record on gay rights was one of the main issues that
Social Democratic Party (CSD) opponents used against him in the presidential
It was in 2000 that Basescu, a former navy officer who
commanded the largest ship in the Romanian navy for more than five years,
became mayor of Bucharest. Then two years later, after he started a campaign
for more tolerance towards gays, the government repealed Section 200 of
Romanian law which dealt with sexual offences and opened the way to prevent
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
As Mayor of Bucharest, he was a “can-do” and
“will-do” politician who set about cleaning up the city of its eyesores
that followed years of the Ceausescu regime.
Prime Minister Nastase publicly admitted defeat as the
official result was announced. Mr. Basescu had won more than 51 per cent of
The incoming president also campaigned on an
anti-corruption platform, describing corruption as “a real threat to the
Basescu’s defence of gays has not been without risk.
Romania is very conservative in its attitude towards sexual matters when
compared with the more liberal attitudes in the rest of Europe.
According to the BBC, Mr. Basescu’s power base is in
Bucharest where, as mayor, he refused to accept the government’s veto on
improving roads in the congested city and improving a central heating system
and encouraged citizens to sign a petition which led to the government backing
Gay News, December 15, 2004
Romanian Presidential Election—A
clarification. On Monday, UK Gay News posted an article on the election which
indicated that President-elect Traian Basescu “is one of the few politicians
in the country to publicly support gay rights.” This aspect was widely
quoted in the British media, with both the BBC and The Guardian taking the
same stance (today’s Guardian repeats the fact in it’s “Leader” Right
First Time). However, yesterday we received an email saying that this is not
the case. We have contacted a leading person—a respected journalist—in the
gay community in Bulgaria for clarification on the matter. This will be
published as soon as received.
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