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Power struggle in Romania

A power struggle has been raging in Romania between the government and President Băsescu since Prime Minister Ponta came to office in early May. The referendum on Băsescu's impeachment initiated by the cabinet has failed, but according to the press it leaves the country divided.

Adevârul - Romania | Friday, 12. April 2013

Ponta und Băsescu bury their differences

The two Romanian arch-rivals Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Băsescu signed a "pact for cooperation" back in December aimed at dispelling the worries their power struggle has generated in the EU. Because Ponta and Băsescu are two of a kind the pact will be highly successful, the daily Adevărul notes: » more

Gândul - Romania | Tuesday, 12. March 2013

Romanian parliament protects plagiarists

Instead of university presidents, in Romania an as yet undefined "competent authority" will decide in future on the withdrawal of university degrees which turn out to be plagiarised. The Romanian House of Representatives passed a corresponding amendment to the education law last Tuesday, while the Senate has yet to vote on the matter. The left-liberal daily Gândul warns: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Thursday, 20. December 2012

Băsescu and Ponta in for hard times

Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Băsescu have signed an agreement containing among other things a code of conduct regarding cooperation between their two posts. But neither of them has gained anything from the deal, the daily România Liberă comments: » more

Observator Cultural - Romania | Friday, 14. December 2012

Traian Băsescu loser of the year

The conservative opposition alliance ARD, which is closely allied to President Traian Băsescu, emerged as the clear loser from Romania's parliamentary elections on Sunday. That makes Băsescu loser of the year, the liberal weekly magazine Observator Cultural writes: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Monday, 10. December 2012

Băsescu has no option but to nominate Ponta

According to preliminary results the Social Liberal Union (USL) under Prime Minister Victor Ponta has won Sunday's parliamentary elections in Romania with 57 percent of the vote. It is up to President Traian Băsescu to nominate the next prime minister, and he may decide against Ponta. But that would be ill-advised, the daily România Liberă comments: » more

Sega - Bulgaria | Thursday, 6. December 2012

Romania needs political change now

Parliamentary elections will take place in Romania on Sunday. But if they fail to bring about fundamental political change the country faces economic collapse, the daily Sega warns: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Thursday, 6. December 2012

Romanians should cast invalid votes

Romania elects a new parliament on Sunday. For years the Romanians have been complaining that all they have in elections is a choice between a greater and lesser evil. The daily România Liberă, which is critical of the government, writes that it would be more sensible to render the vote invalid instead of just complaining: » more

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | Wednesday, 17. October 2012

Bernhard Odehnal on the renaissance of East European communists

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has emerged from Saturday's regional elections as the strongest party in two Czech regions and is now poised to take office for the first time since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The communists are once again a force to be reckoned with also in other Eastern European countries, journalist Bernhard Odehnal writes in the daily Tages-Anzeiger: » more

Hotnews - Romania | Wednesday, 17. October 2012

Total misery drives elite out of Romania

The well-known Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu threatened on the weekend to leave Romania as a result of the pernicious political climate. Prior to his announcement several media had written that the Romanian Cultural Institute ICR had spent too much money in recent years on translations of his works. For the conservative news portal Hotnews, Cărtărescu's statement is symptomatic of the pitiful state the country is in: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Wednesday, 10. October 2012

Parliament avoids investigating election fraud

The Romanian anti-corruption authority, the DNA, on Tuesday launched an investigation against 67 persons suspected of involvement in electoral fraud. The move came after the electoral commission presented figures proving that fraud was committed in the referendum on the impeachment of President Traian Băsescu. A parliamentary committee has been set up to investigate whether public prosecutors have abused their authority. The liberal-conservative daily Adevărul is indignant: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Friday, 28. September 2012

Romania flirts with idea of new king

A debate about the country returning to being a monarchy has flared up once again in Romania, now that the grandson of the 91-year-old former king Michael has settled down in the country. For the conservative daily Romania Libera a return to monarchy would create a balance between the country's political camps: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Thursday, 27. September 2012

Romanian authority confirms referendum fraud

For several weeks now Romania's public prosecutors have been investigating claims that the general secretary of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, committed fraud in the referendum on the impeachment of head of state Traian Băsescu. Yesterday the election authority published figures that prove fraud. The daily Adevărul is shocked: » more

Evenimentul Zilei - Romania | Tuesday, 11. September 2012

Childish Ponta tries to whitewash vote-rigging

The secretary general of Romania's Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, is under suspicion of having employed illegal tactics to boost the number of voters in the referendum against head of state Traian Băsescu held at the end of July. In a show of solidarity Dragnea's party leader Victor Ponta has announced that he will give himself over to the anti-corruption authority, the DNA, because he too called on people to take part in the referendum. The daily Evenimentul Zilei finds the gesture laughable: » more

Gândul - Romania | Wednesday, 5. September 2012

Romania has no chance of joining Schengen

On September 19 the interior ministers of the EU will meet again to discuss Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area. It doesn't take magic powers to see that Romania doesn't stand much of a chance in the negations, the daily Gândul writes: » more

Contributors - Romania | Friday, 31. August 2012

Romania's social democrats isolated in Europe

The Party of European Socialists announced on Thursday plans to move its congress due to take place on September 28 and 29 from Bucharest to Brussels. This highlights the isolation of the Romanian social democrats (PSD), political scientist Vladimir Tismăneanu comments in the conservative blog portal Contributors: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Tuesday, 28. August 2012

Romania remains divided after referendum

Romania's President Traian Băsescu took up office again on Monday. But an end to the conflict between his opponents and supporters is not in sight, writes the liberal-conservative daily Adevărul: » more

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary | Wednesday, 22. August 2012

Romania can rely on rule of law after all

The decision of the Romanian Constitutional Court encourages hopes that the rule of law holds sway in Romania after all, writes the conservative daily Magyar Nemzet: » more

Gândul - Romania | Wednesday, 22. August 2012

Băsescu leaves Romanians embittered

The ruling of the Constitutional Court has left many Romanians with a great sense of bitterness, the left-liberal daily Gândul comments: » more

Die Presse - Austria | Wednesday, 22. August 2012

Democracy the big loser

Romania's President Traian Băsescu can stay in office but there are only losers in this domestic conflict, writes the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse: » more

Contributors - Romania | Monday, 20. August 2012

Authorities must be allowed to fight corruption

The Romanian prosecution is investigating whether the referendum on the impeachment of President Traian Băsescu was subject to fraud when the electoral lists were updated. The intercepted telephone calls of high-ranking officials of the Interior Ministry sparked the investigation, which is being strongly criticised by the governing alliance USL.  Journalist Dragos Aligica calls such criticism into question on the blog portal contributors: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Wednesday, 15. August 2012

Romania entertains Europe with referendum row

The Romanian Constitutional Court announced on Tuesday that it will rule on the validity of the referendum on President Traian Băsescu's impeachment on August 21, ten days earlier than planned. The conflict over the referendum is first-class entertainment, writes the liberal conservative daily Adevărul: » more

Ziare - Romania | Tuesday, 14. August 2012

Romania can forget Schengen for now

EU Commission boss José Manuel Barroso on Friday called on the Romanian government to quickly present the required electoral lists to the Constitutional Court, enabling the Court to reach a decision about the validity of the referendum on President Traian Băsescu's impeachment. Noting the gruff response of the Romanian government the news portal Ziare fears repercussions: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Monday, 13. August 2012

For Ovidiu Pecican Romania's political crisis is systemic

Romania has been embroiled in a profound political crisis for months as a result of the impeachment proceedings against President Traian Băsescu. However the cause of the crisis is not the power struggle in Romania but an acute symptom of a deep-rooted problem with the way politicians perceive themselves, argues author Ovidiu Pecican in the daily Romania Libera: » more

Revista 22 - Romania | Tuesday, 7. August 2012

Ponta pushing to change outcome of referendum

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has reshuffled his cabinet after Interior Minister Ioan Rus and Minister-Delegate for Administration Victor Paul Dobre resigned on Monday. The impeachment proceedings initiated by Ponta against President Traian Băsescu were the background to these events. With the replacements made in the reshuffle the prime minister will increase pressure on the Constitutional Court, the conservative weekly magazine Revista 22 writes: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Monday, 6. August 2012

Political chaos hurting Romanians

Romania's Constitutional Court has moved its decision on the validity of the referendum on the impeachment of President Traian Băsescu forward to August 31. The court's announcement that the decision on the referendum's validity wouldn't be made until September had already led to a further devaluation of the country's currency, the leu, the daily Adevărul complains: » more

Hotnews - Romania | Friday, 3. August 2012

Băsescu's suspension paralyses Romania

Although the referendum by means of which the Romanian parliament sought to impeach President Băsescu has failed, Băsescu will remain suspended until at least September 12. The reason: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Wednesday, 1. August 2012

Ponta holds the trumps

The referendum on the impeachment proceedings against President Traian Băsescu will now be examined by the country's constitutional court. The referendum failed because less than half of those on the electoral roll cast their vote. Prior to the referendum the talk was of 18 million people who were entitled to vote, but that figure has since been lowered to 16.5 million. Interim President Crin Antonescu hopes that the court will declare the referendum valid after all. The daily România Liberă analyses the potential consequences of the referendum: » more

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | Tuesday, 31. July 2012

EU shares blame for Romanian disaster

Commenting on the power struggle between the government and the president in Bucharest the liberal daily Tages-Anzeiger argues that the EU shares some of the responsibility for Romania's democratic deficit: » more

Gândul - Romania | Tuesday, 31. July 2012

Government in Bucharest stubborn and inflexible

The suspended Romanian president Traian Băsescu can return to office after an insufficient number of voters turned out at the referendum to oust him. Hungarians living in Romania were conspicuous by their absence at the polls. But Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced that Băsescu was washed-up politically because some 88 percent of votes went against him. The daily Gândul is puzzled by Ponta's statement: » more

Main focus of Monday, 30. July 2012

Băsescu survives referendum

In Romania the referendum initiated by the government to oust President Traian Băsescu failed due to low turnout. According to the election management just 46 ... » more

Deutsche Welle - Germany | Monday, 30. July 2012

Băsescu should still stand down

Romania's president Băsescu is to stay in office because too few Romanians voted to oust him in the referendum. Of those who participated, around 80 percent voted against him. Băsescu should make way for early presidential elections, demands Robert Schwartz on the Internet portal of the Deutsche Welle: » more

Corriere della Sera - Italy | Monday, 30. July 2012

Bucharest is edging its way out of Europe

The power struggle between the government and president is doing Romania great harm, writes the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera: » more

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Monday, 30. July 2012

Between a rock and a hard place

Before the referendum President Traian Băsescu had called on the people to boycott it. But the fact that the turnout was below the required 50 percent cannot really be interpreted as a vote for the still incumbent head of state, comments the liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung: » more

Dilema Veche - Romania | Monday, 30. July 2012

Romania needs a new political culture

According to the election management, only 46 percent of Romanians turned out to vote in the referendum. This falls short of the necessary quorum and means Băsescu could stay in office. But this is not really about Băsescu, it's about Romania's political culture, writes the weekly Dilema Veche: » more

Hotnews - Romania | Friday, 27. July 2012

Băsescu affair could spur emigration

A referendum on Sunday will decide on whether Traian Băsescu is to remain president of Romania. When journalist Dan Talapage asked on Facebook whether the current situation in Romania was a reason for people to leave the country, he received many affirmative answers. On the news portal Hotnews he writes: » more

Contributors - Romania | Thursday, 26. July 2012

Referendum is a new start for Romania

The impeachment proceedings against President Traian Băsescu are dividing Romania and its society. Supporters and opponents of the president are spending hours engaged in verbal battles on television. Sunday's referendum on the impeachment could mean a new start for the country's political culture, Ioan Stanomir, an expert on constitutional law writes on the blog platform » more

Magyar Narancs - Hungary | Tuesday, 24. July 2012

Băsescu has good chances of staying in office

The Romanians will decide in a referendum on Sunday whether Traian Băsescu is to remain head of state. On his blog with the online edition of the weekly paper Magyar Narancs, Attila Ara-Kovács predicts that Băsescu will stay in office: » more

Ziare - Romania | Tuesday, 24. July 2012

Romanians using criminal charges for political ends

In the run-up to the referendum on the dismissal of Romanian President Traian Băsescu next Sunday, a bitter fight is raging between his supporters and his opponents, who are increasingly resorting to criminal charges instead of arguments. This is the wrong approach, according to political scientist  Alina Mungiu-Pippidi on the blog platform: » more

Gândul - Romania | Friday, 20. July 2012

Ponta's plagiarism scandal now campaign issue

In the plagiarism scandal involving Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta's doctoral thesis the ethics committee appointed by the Ministry of Education announced on Thursday that it doesn't see any evidence of the prime minister having lifted text for his paper. In doing so it contradicts the National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and University Certificates (CNATDCU), which ruled at the end of July that Ponta had plagiarised a third of his paper. The daily Gândul can't understand the ethics committee's ruling: » more

Ziare - Romania | Thursday, 19. July 2012

Western Europe too quick to criticise Romania

In its progress report on Romania released on Wednesday, the EU Commission voiced serious criticism of the events surrounding the impeachment proceedings against President Traian Băsescu, particularly the fact that the left-liberal USL government has limited the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court through an emergency decree. The news portal Ziare contends that Romania is being unduly criticised: » more

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | Wednesday, 18. July 2012

EU must start being strict

As was also the case when Greece joined the Eurozone, the EU was too lenient in allowing Romania to join the Union and failed to insist on adherence to certain criteria, writes the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter. It's time for Brussels to finally wake up, the paper urges: » more

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary | Wednesday, 18. July 2012

The people can bring Băsescu back

Under pressure from the EU, Romania's transition government has promised that the referendum on whether Traian Băsescu should remain president will only be valid if at least half of the Romanians eligible to vote take part in it - as stipulated in the Romanian constitution. This could work in Băsescu's favour, writes the conservative daily Magyar Nemzet: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Wednesday, 18. July 2012

A speedy farewell to democracy

Brussels sends its annual progress report on political reform in Romania and Bulgaria to the EU member states today, Wednesday. According to the media, in the report on Romania the EU Commission expresses serious concerns about the failure to introduce democratic standards. The daily Adevărul is not surprised in view of the authoritarian behaviour of the new Ponta government: » more

Ziare - Romania | Tuesday, 17. July 2012

EU wants to make an example of Romania

At the bidding of the European Commission, the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta submitted a written statement on impeachment proceedings against the Romanian President on Monday. The news portal Ziare writes that Europe wants to make an example of Romania: » more

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | Monday, 16. July 2012

Romanian constitution the cause of power struggle

Commenting on the power struggle between the government and the president in Romania, journalist Zoltán Szabó Tibori points out in the left-liberal weekly Élet és Irodalom that the Romanian constitution paves the way for conflicts between the prime minister and the head of state: » more

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | Friday, 13. July 2012

No EU sledgehammer for Ponta

Romanian Prime Minister Viktor Ponta was forced to give an explanation for the power struggle in his country before the EU Commission on Thursday, and promised to adhere as demanded to the democratic rules in future. The liberal-conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung is delighted that Brussels gave Bucharest a warning but didn't go any further, as it did with the ruling ÖVP/FPÖ coalition in Austria in the year 2000 when it imposed a complete boycott: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Thursday, 12. July 2012

Good that Europe is paying attention

The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta is due to give the EU Commission details about the impeachment proceedings against Traian Băsescu today in Brussels. The daily Adevărul is very relieved that Europe is paying attention to what is going on: » more

Le Soir - Belgium | Tuesday, 10. July 2012

Bucharest and Brussels in the same crisis

The authoritarian behaviour of the Romanian government and the mistrust of the European citizens in the euro crisis both demonstrate the loss of political legitimacy, the left-liberal daily Le Soir comments: » more

Népszabadság - Hungary | Thursday, 12. July 2012

Ponta, Orbán and Fico all alike

With his power politics, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta resembles his counterparts in Hungary and Slovakia, Viktor Orbán and Robert Fico, writes the left-liberal daily Népszabadság: » more

Trud - Bulgaria | Thursday, 12. July 2012

Bulgaria not benefiting from chaos in Romania

The Bulgarian government is seeking to benefit from the power struggle in Romania so as to make a good impression on the EU Commission shortly before the monitoring reports on Romania and Bulgaria are presented next week, writes the daily newspaper Trud: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Wednesday, 11. July 2012

The people will save Romania's democracy

Romania's Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the referendum on the impeachment of President Traian Băsescu will only be valid if more than half of the approximately 18 million citizens eligible to vote take part in it. The left-liberal USL government plans to disregard the decision, pointing to the current rule whereby a simple majority of those who actually vote in the referendum would suffice for its result to be valid. The daily Adevărul sees this as an huge political mistake: » more

Magyar Narancs - Hungary | Monday, 9. July 2012

Băsescu's impeachment a welcome step

The impeachment proceeedings against Romanian President Traian Băsescu have met with some severe criticism in Romania and abroad. The publicist Attila Ara Kovács shows sympathy in the online edition of the weekly paper Magyar Narancs for the move by the social liberal coalition that has governed the country under Victor Ponta since the start of May: » more

Hotnews - Romania | Monday, 9. July 2012

Romania says goodbye to democracy

Growing criticism has been heard from Europe and the US after the Romanian parliament resolved on Friday to suspend President Traian Băsescu. The news agency Hotnews fears economic consequences for the country: » more

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | Friday, 6. July 2012

EU must save Romanian democracy

After dismissing the president of the Senate and the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, the Romanian parliament today plans to commence impeachment proceedings against President Traian Băsescu for alleged violations of the constitution. Romania is a failed democracy and Europe must take it under its wing, writes the left-liberal Süddeutsche Zeitung: » more

România Liberâ - Romania | Thursday, 5. July 2012

Coup leaves Romanians cold

In Romania the ruling coalition on Tuesday deposed the speakers of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, replacing them with appointees from its own ranks. It now plans to present parliament with a resolution on an impeachment process against Băsescu by the end of the week. The daily România Liberă is surprised at the lack of reaction from the Romanians and Europe to this power struggle: » more

Voxpublica - Romania | Monday, 2. July 2012

Only clan members given power in Romania

The Romanian National Commission for the Recognition of Academic Degrees and Titles (CNATCU) on Friday confirmed allegations of plagiarism made against Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Eighty-four pages of his 307-page doctoral thesis were found to contain copied passages. Ponta's party, the PSD, has rejected calls for his resignation saying that half of the members of the Commission are members of the opposition PDL party. In the eyes of the blog portal Voxpublica this "doesn't change the fact that plagiarism is plagiarism. But it highlights one of Romania's biggest problems: » more

Gândul - Romania | Friday, 29. June 2012

Romania discredits itself in Europe

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta will represent his country at the EU summit in Brussels, defying Wednesday's ruling by the Romanian Constitutional Court that President Traian Băsescu is the authorised representative. The daily Gândul writes that Romania's reputation in Europe has suffered greatly as a result of this dispute: » more

Voxpublica - Romania | Thursday, 28. June 2012

Romania's president may travel to Brussels

The Romanian Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that it is the task of the head of state to represent Romania at the EU summit. Prime Minister Victor Ponta nevertheless promptly announced that he would travel to Brussels on Thursday. What his political adversary President Traian Băsescu will do has not been confirmed. Mihai Gotiu sees in the blog portal Voxpublica only one solution to the dispute: » more

Contributors - Romania | Wednesday, 27. June 2012

Romanian parliament mounts a minor coup

The Romanian parliament on Monday curtailed the competences of the country's Constitutional Court. The new regulations apply to decisions on impeachment proceedings, for example, but not on legislation. The blog portal Contributors finds the move dangerous: » more

Contributors - Romania | Wednesday, 13. June 2012

Băsescu right to insist on Brussels visit

The Romanian parliament announced on Tuesday that Prime Minister Victor Ponta will travel to Brussels for the next EU summit meeting at the end of June. Since Romania joined the EU in 2007 it has always been represented by President Traian Băsescu, who is now calling for a legal ruling on the matter. The blog portal Contributors questions whether there is sufficient reason to change accepted practice: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Monday, 14. May 2012

Prime minister and president at odds over Brussels trip

On May 23 the EU heads of state and government will convene in Brussels, and in Romania the social democratic prime minister Victor Ponta is at loggerheads with the conservative head of state Traian Băsescu over which of them should travel to Brussels to attend the meeting. A laughable affair, writes the daily Adevărul, saying that to send Prime Minister Ponta "would be the right way to further internalise European affairs. Here in Romania the EU wrongly, probably out of ignorance, continues to be viewed as a foreign policy subject despite the fact that we have been part of it for almost five years. … Now it has been proposed that we could hold ourselves up as an example of European coexistence and send both to the meeting: » more

Adevârul - Romania | Friday, 11. May 2012

Bucharest must respect Hungarian minority

The Hungarian Federation in Romania, the UDMR, is unhappy that the programme of the left-liberal alliance USL makes no reference to the Hungarian minority. Minority policy must not be neglected, warns the daily Adevărul: » more

Ziare - Romania | Wednesday, 9. May 2012

New government must prove itself quickly

Romania has a new government. The parliament voted in the cabinet of the left-liberal alliance, the USL, on Monday with 284 out of a total of 460 votes. But despite this show of support the government led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta faces major challenges, the news portal Ziare warns: » more

Ziare - Romania | Friday, 4. May 2012

Criticism of unsuitable ministerial candidates

Several candidates for posts in the new Romanian cabinet have come under attack because they are either currently standing trial or have already been convicted. This is the first setback for Social Democrat Victor Ponta in his task of forming a new government, writes the news portal Ziare: » more

Gândul - Romania | Monday, 30. April 2012

Left topples government too soon

The left-liberal opposition alliance USL toppled the Romanian centre-right government with a vote of no confidence on Friday. It's now the task of the leader of the social democratic PSD, Victor Ponta, to form a new government. But the left-liberal alliance may soon regret its move, warns the daily newspaper Gândul: » more


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