Romanian communist-era diplomat quits as Senate speaker following court ruling

Inquam Photos/ Octav Ganea

Teodor Melescanu, one of Romania’s top diplomats from the communist era, finally quit as Senate speaker on Monday, 12 days after a court ruled that his election to the post was unconstitutional.

Melescanu, who served as foreign minister three times in the post-communist era, is the longest-surviving senior official from the pre-1989 era.

“I decided to step down from the post, although the Constitutional Court has not published his decision,” the Agerpres national news agency quoted him as saying,

After the court ruling on January 22, Melescanu, 78, initially indicated that he would resign but later dug his heels in saying he would wait for the court decision to be published.

He was appointed to the post on Sept. 10, after he won 73 votes, defeating Liberal Party candidate Alina Gorghiu who got 59.  

However, 33 Senators contested the vote as he did not have the support of his party, the Alliance of Liberal Democrats, which had just quit the ruling coalition.

The decision came after the Institute for Investigating the Crimes of Communism announced it was investigating whether Melescanu committed a crime when he lied to foreign diplomats in Vienna about a brutal crackdown by communist authorities during the 1989 anti-communist revolution.

It said Melescanu was suspected of “disinformation and diversion” connected to remarks he made in Vienna on December 19-20, 1989, referring to his presence at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe when he opposed a moment of for people who had died or been injured in Timisoara where the uprising started on December 16, 1989.

It said that “according to diplomatic telegrams,” Melescanu “in his official capacity in disinformation and diversion exercised by the totalitarian communist regime” described “crimes committed by the communists as „rumors spread around with malicious intent” and “unconfirmed news reports.”

 Melescanu was director of the Foreign Intelligence Service from 2012-2014 and served as defense minister between 2007-2008. He was foreign minister from 1992 and 1996, briefly in November 2014, and from 2017-2019.

He graduated from Geneva University in 1968 and later became a diplomat for the communist authorities and was posted in Vienna at the time of the revolution.


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