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Party Leaves Romanian Assembly to Protest Attacks

From Times Wire Services

One of the three leading parties walked out of Romania’s makeshift Parliament Friday to protest recent violent attacks on opposition leaders.

The National Peasants Party’s pullout symbolized the growing tension before Romania’s first free elections in more than 40 years, planned for May 20.

Anti-government protesters seeking the resignation of former Communists, including interim President Ion Iliescu, demonstrated for the 20th straight day in downtown Bucharest. About 5,000 government supporters rallied a half-mile away.

On Thursday, the United States announced that it was recalling its ambassador, Alan Green Jr., because of concerns that the elections will not be entirely free and fair.

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As Green left for Washington Friday, Western diplomats said the Romanian government was embarrassed and angered by the recall.

Prime Minister Petre Roman said Green had questioned him during a meeting four or five days ago about incidents during the electoral campaign and candidates’ access to the mass media.

“We parted on cordial terms. The American action is in contradiction with the discussion I had (with the ambassador),” Roman told Reuters news service.

The U.S. Embassy said in a statement broadcast by Romanian Radio that Green will return to Bucharest before the elections.

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At a Friday session of Romania’s Provisional Council of National Unity, the interim Parliament, Ion Diaconescu, vice president of the Peasants Party, said his group is withdrawing its three deputies.

Two other deputies joined the Peasants Party in the pullout. It was prompted by opposition accusations that the dominant National Salvation Front is behind recent attacks on its opponents and is using its leading position to manipulate state funds and the media.

In an afternoon session, Parliament scrapped a 1978 decree that placed the state radio and television under government control.


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