Romanian Orthodox MEP candidate campaigns on anti-gay ticket

Iulian Capsali

Iulian Capsali

Iulian Capsali, a Romanian Orthodox priest, has gathered the necessary signatures to be registered as independent candidate for the European elections, the Romanian press reports. He presents himself as “the candidate of the Romanian family”, campaigning against abortion and against “homosexual culture”.

Capsali admits that the Orthodox Church has helped gathering 120, 000 signatures for his registration as an independent candidate. Romania is one of the seven EU countries where independent candidates are allowed to compete in European elections. These include also Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom.

In Romania, independent candidates for the European elections must provide at least 100, 000 signatures. Since 1979, there have been twelve European Parliament elections in which independent candidates have obtained over 2% of the vote. So far independent candidates have obtained an EP seat on 12 occasions. In Romania, the daughter of President Traian B?sescu was elected as an independent MEP in the last 2009 European elections, in what was seen by observers as a transfer of votes from her father’s party PDL to her list [read more].

Capsali, who lives in a three-bedroom apartment with his wife and his nine children, say he decided to be a candidate when a Protestant priest of Romanian origin from the USA, Peter Costea, announced his intention to run for MEP.

“When I saw that he is a candidate, I said to myself that an Orthodox country should have an Orthodox representative”, Capsali says, as quoted by the daily România liber?. Costea, too, is running on an independent ticket, and has claimed to be the richest Romanian candidate, with a personal fortune of €1.6 million which he earned as a lawyer in the USA.

Capsali says he has normal relations with Catholics, but not with Greek Catholics, which he says are “aggressive” against the Orthodox. He also says that he is not bothered by the fact that the Romanian Orthodox Church prohibits its priests from party policies, or electoral campaigning, adding that he relies on the Church to bring him votes.

Asked about his motivation, Capsali says that he wants to be an opponent in the European Parliament of those who contest the family, and named the socialists, the neo-Marxists and the Greens as detractors of the traditional family values. “Even Mr. Barroso has been a Maoist in his youth”, he said, referring to a well-known detail of the biography of the current Commission President.

The “homosexual ideology” leads to the destruction of the family at global level, Capsali says.

“They want to be given some rights at the expense of our rights, of the Christian families’ rights. The famous Lunacek report [Ulrike Lunacek is an Austrian Green MEP, author of the LGBT Roadmap report] says that a child at birth doesn’t have a clear identity. That it is something fluid. And that family, culture, the environment give the child its sexuality, which is a fallacy. They says boys should be wearing skirts”, Capsali says.

The Romanian Orthodox Church is by far the biggest religion in the 21 million person country, but it has so far stayed out of politics. Anti-gay feelings are also strongly rooted in Romanian society. Political pundits say that the attempt to send an Orthodox Church MEP to Strasbourg is in fact a test for the possibility to set up an Orthodox political party for the national elections in 2016.

In the European Parliament, there have been attempts to create some sort of “Orthodox unity” involving MEPs from Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, but not much has been achieved.

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