culture which ranged from the recognition of the inner hierarchies to the Ceauşescu-like tenacious idealization of the national history, the new political body promoted due to the 1996 vote, started the race with a huge handicap.
By comparison, in Cotroceni we had the advantage of the fact that the presidential team was already used to the situation and decided to stick together. A blessing in disguise, a well concealed blessing had also been constituted by the fact that the people around Ion Iliescu had tried to cause us problems by using the old tactics of ?the burnt land?: while, publicly, an entire ritual of passation des pouvoirs was elegantly displayed, the chief of the Presidential Administration (the same general in the previous passage) was causing the resignation of the majority of the clerks. In the afternoon when the new president was to come to Cotroceni, the palace was almost deserted, with two or three ?classical? secretaries, some of those meant to bring coffee to the boss and who were crying in the scattered offices. The photocopier was on, but for paper clips I had to ask somebody to rush to the campaign office (I had to quickly send the speech the president had offered during the ceremony of investiture to the newspapers and to the embassies)
At least the furniture was there, not like in the government office where, on 11th December, during the installation, Ciorbea?s team couldn?t find at least the curtains or the hygienic paper holders. At the moment, we thought that we were faced with the work of a few angry peddling clerks. The recent situation that Tăriceanu?s government team has been faced with, enlightened us a little bit more.
We had to quickly invent a new institution. Romania?s presidency had been based, even from the days of the CFSN, on the former CC2 and, by the time we got there it was, on top of it all, also quasi-militarised, with bullet-proof doors and TABs3 in the courtyard. The cars left imme
2 The Central Committee ? important political organization during the communist regime. 3 Self-proof auto tank.