Zoe Petre

When, at the beginning of the summer in 1992, the University Solidarity appointed Emil Constantinescu recently elected Rector of Bucharest University- as candidate of CDR1 for the presidential elections, a group of colleagues and I decided to support him and his campaign the best way we could. We were sure then, thing confirmed today by facts, that Emil Constantinescu, of all the candidates that the opposition had available at the moment, wasn?t only the most likely to win over Ion Iliescu, but also a good president for the democratic Romania that we desired. That he was going to have the same priorities that we also thought important and fair, that he will not hesitate when faced with essential matters, that he will do his job no matter the risks, that he will break the terrible chain of national and international complicities which had compromised the huge chance Romania had gained once with the December 1989 Revolution.

Both the 1992 campaign and that in 1996 had, in their own way, been adventures. I will further on describe how in 1992 a handful of intellectuals without previous experience but with the utmost determination to learn fast, managed-guided by the candidate himself- to rise the score from 2% at the beginning of the campaign, to the challenger situation of the second round, facing the experienced Ion Iliescu and up to the final result of 38%. That is more than 4,5 million votes, approximately two million more than the very political formation.

Perhaps I will speak some other time about how the 1996 campaign was perceived from the place were I was, how I had the feeling that the more CDR?s chances were growing, the more aggressive the main opponent was becoming (in 1992, during any meeting with Ion Iliescu we used to be surrounded by bodyguards with machine guns and pistols kept at sight, but in 1996 both these guys and individuals like Dan Iosif had their knives in our necks), how we had to fight the poles, the ?poisoned phone calls?, TVR, Antena 1 (where, during the first debate, they filmed our candidate?s socks for half an hour).

Anyway, towards the end of the campaign, there was a sort of sense of victory in the air, to which we deliberately turned the blind eye in order not to be disappointed. At the end of the last debate hosted by TVR, before the second round, even the most sceptical of all of us, Emil Constantinescu himself, had a moment of certainty and he gave me the huge pleasure of 1 The Romanian Democratic Convention.

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Martor nr 1/1996
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Martor nr 5/2000
Martor nr 6/2001
Martor nr 7/2002
Martor nr 8-9/2003-2004
Martor nr 10/2005
Martor nr 11/2006
Martor nr 12/2007

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