Party Activist in Romania Stabbed
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ An activist for a center-left party was stabbed and seriously wounded Thursday as he put up campaign posters for Sunday’s general elections.
A spokesman for the Democratic Party accused supporters of the ultra-nationalist Greater Romania party of beating and stabbing 23-year-old Stefan Stoica in the southern city of Craiova, 110 miles west of Bucharest. Members of the Greater Romania party denied the charge.
The private news agency Mediafax reported that a scuffle broke out when a half dozen Greater Romania supporters tried to stop Stoica from putting up posters, saying the space was reserved for their candidate’s posters.
The Greater Romania party said in the statement that Stoica had been drunk and had attacked their party supporters. The statement claimed he was stabbed by two unknown assailants.
Greater Romania’s presidential candidate, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, is in second place in the polls.
A former court poet of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Tudor is known for his militant rhetoric. He has been quoted as saying that he will mete out justice with a rifle, leading to charges he promotes violence among his supporters. He became popular with promises to restore order.
Polls show Tudor trailing former President Ion Iliescu, an ex-communist, who heads a pack of 12 candidates. Iliescu of the left-wing Party of Social Democracy was president from 1990-96.
The Democratic Party has about 5 percent support, polls show. Since no candidate is expected to get the 50% of the vote needed for an outright win, a runoff, probably between Iliescu and Tudor, is expected on Dec. 10.
Romanians on Sunday will also elect a 482-seat bicameral parliament.
A strong showing by leftist candidates in the elections could hinder Romania’s attempts to join the European Union and NATO and slow down economic reforms, analysts say.