Last edited: December 17, 2004

Romania Elects Pro-Gay, Anti-Corruption President

UK 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 election.

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 Then two years later, after he started a campaign for more tolerance towards gays, the government repealed Section 200 of Romanian law which dealt with sexual offences and opened the way to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.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 vote.

The incoming president also campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, describing corruption as “a real threat to the country”.

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 down.

UK 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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