Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Winds of Change Blow Away Leftists OUSTING ROMANIA'S EX-REDS

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Winds of Change Blow Away Leftists OUSTING ROMANIA'S EX-REDS

Article excerpt

Anticipation was in the air at Primary School Number 174, where voters from Bucharest's dour Militara district gathered to cast their ballots.

At the nearby metro station entrance, stray dogs competed with homeless children for the charity of returning workers, who themselves teeter on the edge of survival.

Like voters in cities and towns across Romania, residents of Militara were voting for change in the Nov. 3 general election. After 50 years of communist and neocommunist rule, Romanians appear to be demanding an end to the feudal and corrupt party-state bureaucracy that President Ion Iliescu and his Social Democratic Party of Romania (PDSR) have worked so hard to maintain. "Prices are going up, our salaries are staying the same, and we're barely surviving," says a middle-age factory worker to the approval of surrounding voters. "We must have change because things can't go on like this." "There will be a positive change for Romania, but just how positive is hard to say," comments Michael Shafir, Romania analyst for the Prague-based Open Media Research Institute. "Without substantive change, the gap between Romania and the leading East European countries will continue to grow." The stakes are particularly high in these elections, since voters are choosing a president and members of both houses of the national legislature. With more than half of the returns tallied on Nov. 5, Mr. Iliescu had received 33 percent of the vote in the race for president. This contrasts greatly with the 48 percent he received in 1992's first round of presidential elections. University professor Emil Constantinescu, who leads the opposition Democratic Convention - a center-right alliance of opposition parties - had won 28 percent of the vote. Former Premier Petre Roman was third with 21 percent. As the top two candidates in the presidential race, Iliescu and Mr. …

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