Posts tagged Romania
Posts tagged Romania
Romanian election officials declared late Sunday that a referendum to impeach the nation’s president on grounds that he overstepped his authority had failed because of low voter turnout.
The Central Election Bureau put the voter turnout in Sunday’s referendum on President Traian Basescu at 45.92 percent, with a 3 percent margin of error. By law, such referendums are invalid if less than half the electorate cast ballots. The bureau did not immediately give the outcome of the vote, but two exit polls showed more than 80 percent favored impeaching Basescu.
“Romanians have invalidated the referendum by not voting,” Basescu said on national TV as he announced he had survived the vote.
However, he acknowledged he had lost popular support, and pledged to work toward reconciliation in the nation of 19 million which threw off communism in 1989.
“I assure Romanians that once I return … I will try and generate a sentiment of reconciliation in society,” he said. `’It’s clear that Romanians are unhappy about what has happened in recent years. Divisions in society must be stopped, they must be annihilated, because Romania needs all its energy to … integrate into the civilized world.”
EU warns Romania PM Victor Ponta over political crisis
A top EU official has urged Romania’s prime minister to safeguard judicial independence and the rule of law, amid a paralysing political crisis.
The message came from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who met PM Victor Ponta in Brussels on Thursday.
Mr Ponta, a leftist, has moved to oust Romania’s President Traian Basescu.
The president has been suspended by the largely pro-Ponta parliament and a referendum on 29 July will decide whether he can be impeached.
Mr Van Rompuy, who chairs EU summits, voiced “deep concerns” about Romania’s crisis, “with regard to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary”, a statement from his office said.
He asked Mr Ponta to “address the issues identified by the [European] Commission as problematic”.
Critics say the moves by Mr Ponta and his Social Liberal Union (USL) supporters, who came to power in May, are aimed at weakening the influence of Mr Basescu and undermining the judiciary.
Mr Ponta says he will address any issues raised by Romania’s EU partners. But he also accused the centre-right president of blocking government policies.
Romania and its neighbour Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but Brussels has put both countries under special monitoring because of concerns about judicial independence, corruption and political influence in state institutions.
Pictured: Victor Ponta’s power struggle has caused “deep concern” in the EU
Romanian President Traian Basescu faces impeachment
Romania’s president faces impeachment after the governing coalition called for him to be suspended.
Centre-right President Traian Basescu has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who heads the opposing Social Liberal Union (USL), which has a majority in parliament.
If parliament votes for Mr Basecu’s suspension, a national poll on his impeachment can follow.
Mr Ponta himself is under pressure to resign over allegations of plagiarism.
The USL party has asked parliament to hold an extraordinary meeting to suspend Mr Basescu, a party member told a Romanian news agency.
Mr Ponta’s USL party passed a law to simplify the process of having the president impeached. That law still needs to be considered by the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court itself has accused Mr Ponta of trying to dismantle it, and on Tuesday complained to the European Commission that he was threatening the court’s independence.
The USL, in power since May, says that the court is heavily influenced by Mr Basescu, whose popularity has dropped since he imposed austerity measures agreed with the EU and IMF in 2010.
The political conflict between the president and prime minister has stalled decision-making processes in Romania at a time when it is finalising agreements on an IMF-backed aid package for its economy.
Pictured: President Traian Basescu is widely associated with unpopular austerity measures
Romania’s government falls after Parliament vote
Bucharest, Romania (CNN) — Romania’s government collapsed Friday and a new prime minister was appointed after a censure motion filed by the opposition won approval in Parliament.
It is the second time this year a Romanian government has crashed. This time it fell less than three months after Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu took office.
The censure motion passed with 235 votes, four more than the minimum required by the Romanian Constitution. There are 460 legislators.
The motion was filed by the opposition Social Democrats and Liberals, who accused the Cabinet of lack of transparency in the selling of natural resources and in approving money transfers to local authorities belonging to the ruling parties.
Friday evening, President Traian Basescu appointed Social Democrat leader Victor Ponta as the new prime minister with the task of forming a new government.
Porta’s was the only name suggested after Basescu invited all political parties to submit their nominations. Porta was backed by all members of the opposition coalition, and other parties made no nominations.
Earlier, Ponta had said he was ready to step in, saying the opposition coalition members “already have a government proposal.”
Some voices inside the coalition didn’t agree, however. Social Democrat Ion Iliescu, a former Romanian president, said the country should have an independent government for the next six months until parliamentary elections are held.
Ponta said he will soon announce the members of the new government, which will have to pass a confidence vote in Parliament to be installed.
The outgoing coalition failed to back the government in the confidence vote after several Liberal Democrat members, including its vice president, resigned and joined the opposition alliance.
Democrat Liberal leader Emil Boc expressed disappointment. “The minorities group betrayed us and voted for the motion,” he said. “It is very hard to still trust the actual coalition.”
Ungureanu said he respects democracy but he offered no excuses: “I was honored to run such a government. I am glad we managed to do what we had to do for this country and the results are obvious.”
Pictured: Outgoing Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, left, and members of his government in Parliament on Wednesday
Romanian prime minister and cabinet resign en masse
Emil Boc says he is quitting to ‘release tension’ after weeks of protests over austerity measures and alleged corruption
The Romanian prime minister and his cabinet have resigned after weeks of sometimes violent protests over widespread corruption and austerity measures.
Emil Boc said on Monday he was quitting “to release the tension in the country’s political and social situation”.
During his three-year rule, salaries of state employees were cut by a quarter and VAT increased by 5%, while the European debt crisis hit Romania’s exports hard. It was a toxic combination in a country which was already the second poorest in the EU, better off only than Bulgaria, which also joined the union in 2007.
Pictured: A protester waves a Romanian flag in University Square, Bucharest, shortly after Prime Minister Emil Boc announced his resignation. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA
Who are the Indignados of Bucharest?
Thousands of people from all walks of life have been demonstrating all week in Bucharest as well as all over the country against both austerity measures and a political system gangrened by corruption. It is about time that the government took their complaints seriously, warns Romanian sociologist Mircea Kivu.
Rioting in Romania: the battle of Bucharest
“Polenta doesn’t explode” is the gnomic phrase Romanians use to describe the attitude of resigned acceptance typical to the country. But this weekend something snapped. Thousands of people took to the streets in Bucharest and 40 other towns, venting their anger at their leaders’ perceived incompetence in dealing with Romania’s economic crisis.
The centre of Bucharest was hit by violence on a scale unseen in two decades. Traian Băsescu, the centre-right president, is the main target of the protesters’ ire. “Get out, you miserable dog” they chanted, as they hurled paving stones and smoke bombs at riot police. Water cannons and tear gas were used to dispel the crowds.
Sixty people, including several police officers, were injured in the clashes. The police head admitted that his officers may have been “over-zealous” at times. Earlier today Emil Boc, the prime minister, condemned the violence but conceded that his government’s austerity measures had “brought hardships upon people”.
The immediate trigger for the riots was the resignation of Raed Arafat, a popular official in the health ministry, who stepped down after clashing with Mr Băsescu over a set of controversial reforms to the health-care system. Mr Boc has now offered to revise the plans, and offered an olive branch to Mr Arafat.
The Palestinian-born doctor, who emigrated to Romania in the 1980s, had helped set up a professional medical emergency system. He disagreed with a government proposal to privatise it, as part of its drive to cut public spending. “Quality does not automatically arrive with privatisation. For the patient, the system will be weaker,” he said announcing his resignation. A day earlier Mr Băsescu had called Mr Arafat a liar on television, adding that he had “leftist” views. (via The Economist)
Several people hurt in Bucharest anti-austerity protest
Romanian riot police have fired tear gas during clashes with demonstrators protesting against austerity cuts in the capital, Bucharest.
Protesters are now demanding the resignation of President Traian Basescu.