Soon after former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea announced that she will enter the race to lead Romania’s main opposition party the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), Romania’s president, her self declared ‘political mentor’ commented on her chances of becoming a leader for the party.
“I ‘raised’ her as a politician. She learned politics from me. She can acquire the profile of party leader, I am not saying she already has it, but she has advanced greatly. I am convinced that after the experience of being elected an MP for Roman city, Elena Udrea will become a strong politician in Romania. She’s resistant, intelligent, she wants it, she is ambitious and always a right wing person,” said President Traian Basescu during a TV show.
However, in order to success, Udrea should “leave the expensive purses she had when she entered politics and get cheaper ones,”, and give up on high heels now and then. He also praised her for having had the courage to announce that she will run for the leadership of the party, knowing that if she is not successful, she will be kicked out. But her problems are less than what Basescu himself had to face, and referred to the charges brought against him of having sold Romania’s fleet while he was Transport Minister. “When you’re controversial, you have one option: to fight and show you did not steal the fleet. She has to take the very high heeled shoes off. She needs to put away some of the purses she had when she entered politics and get cheaper ones. But she has not had the problems that made me leave the Parliament,” Basescu concluded.
Both Basescu and Udrea have quite a controversial image in Romania, and one of the most common media allegations was that they had an affair while they were working together. Basescu, a former leader of the PDL, worked with Udrea while he was the Bucharest mayor, between 2000 and 2004. She was then general counselor and in charge of the judicial and disciplinary commission at City Hall. Udrea, a lawyer, continued as presidential adviser after Basescu won the presidential seat. In 2008, she became Tourism Minister, the only woman minister in the cabinet of the time and in 2012, an MP.
Elena Udrea, 40, is one of Romania’s highest profile politicians and has attracted plenty of local and international media attention throughout her career. She boldly posed for a fashion magazine, in an issue dedicated to powerful women, after she had caught the media’s eye with the expensive Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore during a TV show and a press conference. Her expensive taste in fashion has been both criticized and lauded, and she has stated that politics can be “done in high heels,” as well as by the blonde and the young. Udrea, married to businessman Dorin Cocos, also made international headlines for having sent high heeled shoes to some flooded areas, as help for those in distress. Before becoming a minister, she was lampooned for not knowing that Norway is a monarchy and not part of the European Union.
(photo source: Tourism Ministry)