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December 1, 2021

WikiLeaks: Borbely, very disappointed with Basescu presidential victory

A 2005 cable from the US embassy makes a profile of the Democratic Union of Hun­garians in Romania (UDMR) and the party’s most prominent leaders. The cable obtained by WikiLeaks and released by ‘Kamikaze’ magazine underlines that the UDMR has supported or participating in governing coalitions since 1996. The embassy divided the ethnic Hungarian political class into two groupings: “the Moderates, who have taken a gradualist approach toward greater ethnic rights and autonomy for Romania’s ethnic Hungarians; and the so-called ‘Radicals’, w­ho seek more rapid reform.” The UDMR’s politics has generally been dominated by the Moderates, which included the party’s long-standing leader Marko Bela.

In the analysis, the chapter dedicated to Borbely Laszlo, minister delegate for public administration at the time, says the moderate leader was one of the chief negotiators of UDMR’s cooperation with the Social-Democrats while the latter were in power between 2000 and 2004. “Borbely is known for his affinity with PSD leaders, and for his strong organizational and negotiating skills. He was the key ethnic Hungarian architect of the UDMR-PSD cooperation protocols, signed annually between 2000 and 2004 while PSD was in power,” the cable reads. In fact, Borbely also voiced overt disappointment with Traian Basescu’s “surprise victory” in November 2004 presidential elections. “He did not hesitate to inform Embassy staff the day following Basescu’s victory that UDMR would continue its cooperation with the PSD party, although just a few weeks later the UDMR would join the coalition led by the Liberal-Democratic (PNL-PD) Alliance,” the cable also reveals. Borbely is currently serving as minister of environment.

Another cable, also released by ‘Kamikaze’ reveals that in 2005, when then PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu was planning to resign in order to hold snap elections and strengthen the PNL-PD Alliance’s grip on power, Social-Democrats were divided on the matter. While party leader Mircea Geoana favoured new elections “as an opportunity to weed out PSD deputies who remain loyal to former President Ion Iliescu and the party’s ‘old guard’,” former PM Adrian Nastase was against the idea, for fear he could have lost his position as Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the cable said.

Also in 2005, a cable reveals that the presidential administration communicated to US officials that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would not be invited to Bucharest. A possible visit of the Venezuelan president was being analysed by Cotroceni Palace, but the Romanian Foreign Ministry recommended against it. Subsequently, Basescu’s adviser for international relations, Anca Ilinoiu, confirmed that “the presidency agrees with this recommendation and Chavez ‘will not be coming to Bucharest,’” the cable reads.

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