17 March 2007

Orthodox politician gaining ground in Romania

The millionaire owner of the Steaua Bucureşti football club, Gigi Becali, is rising in popularity in Romania. His New Generation Party (PNG) may win 10-15% of Romania's European Parliament seats in the next election, while Becali himself has presidential ambitions.

What makes Becali different from other Romanian politicians is his populism generously mixed with Orthodox Christian language. He has declared himself an "apostle", and his office features a painting of himself as St John. The fact that he was a shepherd in the past contributes to his self-produced image as a leader in the mould of Jesus (pbuh) and the Byzantine emperors, who were "shepherds" to their people.

And what happens if Becali fails as a politician? He's promising to go back to being a shepherd (BBC).

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