Romania Party Solidly Behind Ceausescu and His Hard Line
The ruling Communist Party wrapped up a weeklong congress Thursday by voicing its approval of the reelection of party chief Nicolae Ceausescu and his hard-line policy against democratic reform.
The congress of 3,300 delegates will formally close today when election results for top party leaders are to be made public.
Dozens of delegates, who represent the 3.5 million members of the party, on Thursday praised Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, the country’s first deputy prime minister, as “much-respected and beloved comrades” and “brilliant personalities” as the couple sat in on the session.
Delegate Elena Voda, 41, said during a break in the proceedings that the current congress is the “most important” since one held in 1965, when Ceausescu was elected.
“The proposal to reelect comrade Ceausescu has been wholeheartedly accepted by all the Romanian people,” said Voda, a textile technician from northwestern Romania. “We fully support this proposal, because comrade Ceausescu’s policy is strengthening socialism in Romania and peace and liberty in the whole world.”
Another delegate, Mihalcea Tashke, 54, a foreman in a Bucharest water pump plant, called the far-reaching democratic reform movement sweeping East Europe “abnormal” and said it “should have not happened.”
“This cannot happen in Romania. We live peacefully and need no changes,” Tashke said. “We are not afraid of tomorrow.”
Although a member of the Warsaw Pact, Romania under Ceausescu has maintained its independence from Moscow in the past and has broken step again, rejecting the reforms promoted by Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Earlier this year, Romania repaid all of its $10-billion foreign debt to Western countries and declared itself economically and politically independent from both the East and West.
“We have always been, and we shall remain, united around our Communist Party and President Ceausescu, so that we can prevent any outside interference from any side into our domestic affairs,” said a high-level Romanian official, speaking under the condition of anonymity that is standard practice in the country. “We do not need any changes, particularly not like those now under way in most East European countries.”
But Romania has suffered in recent years from a drop in the standard of living and the implementation of a strict rationing program that limits each Romanian to 1 pound of meat and 10 eggs every month.
The official argued that Romania first had to provide jobs and housing, and “then comes the rest.”
The country boasts it has no unemployment.