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What the newspapers say: May 21, 2007

de     HotNews.ro
Luni, 21 mai 2007, 0:00


Romanian newspapers on Monday turn upside down and inside out the results and effects of the Saturday referendum where an overwhelming majority of voters decided against ousting President Traian Basescu. Also in the papers today: behind the scenes of the Bucharest Ring racing contest, the story of a Romanian “Mr.

Nobody” who was revealed to be somebody in Britain, the deals of Bechtel in Romania and what people think of the economic performance of the country since the fall of communism.

While many spoke prior to the May 19 referendum aimed at removing President Traian Basescu from office of the imminence of an Ukrainian-style ‘civil war’ in Romania, no such thing happened as Basescu was credited by 75% of the population to return to his office, Cotidianul notes.

But it writes that civil war did hit the camps of Basescu’s rivals. Some Liberals are calling for the party to leave government and join the opposition. And the Social Democrats, the main opposition party in Romania, is facing an internal revolt against its current leadership, Cotidianul reports.

According to Evenimentul Zilei, the referendum had the anti-presidential coalition fall in its own trap as they tried to get rid of President Basescu.

The paper writes that one thing turned real from their whole strategy against Basescu: a very low participation in the referendum, while all other attempts to mobilize voters against the head of state failed dramatically.

Romania libera reports of the terrible struggle that the referendum ignited within the Social Democratic Party (PSD). Heads must fall, the paper writes, and quotes various leaders of the PSD who are planning their moves in order to stay at the helm after their terrible failure at the referendum.

According to the paper, ex-President and honorary party president Ion Iliescu is already disseminating the idea that should he become the scapegoat for this failure, he would determine a break-up of the party. A key PSD leadership meeting is expected to take place today.

And Gandul writes that Basescu’s victory in the referendum has “pulverized” the anti-presidential coalition as anti-Basescu parties are blaming each other for the collapse of their attept to remove him from office.

Regarding the PSD, the paper notes that Ioan Rus, the leader of an influential party branch in Cluj, Transylvania is coming to Bucharest today to establish the scapegoats.

The same Gandul reports that President Basescu was involved in an incident the very day of the referendum, when he temporarily confiscated the cell phone of a TV reporter while being filmed doing shopping.

Angry at her, he left with his wife in his car, telephone in his pocket, unknowing that the phone was recording his conversation with his wife. A conversation during which he called the journalist “a stinky Gypsy!”

And Evenimentul Zilei publishes two reports on how voting took place abroad. According to the paper, Romanian Foreign minister Adrian Cioroianu says he is pleased with the organization of the vote in other countries and that he thinks the best solution for future polls is to introduce the vote by correspondence.

But the same Evenimentul Zilei writes that hundreds of Romanians abroad were humiliated as they had to form long queues at many voting sections in cities across Europe -many of them leaving without voting as the procedure was too slow to let everybody vote throughout the day.

Elsewhere in the papers today:
  • Evenimentul Zilei tells the story of Mr. Nobody, a “genius crook” of Romanian origin who managed to fool a whole world by claiming that he was suffering of amnesia and spent years in Britain, Canada and elsewhere - doing nothing.

    He was eventually identified by journalists as a Romanian who preferred to be a real “nobody” abroad than somebody in his home country of Romania.
  • Cotidianul writes that the Romanian state paid US company Bechtel, the builder of a key highway in Transylvania, some 129 million euro only to cover provisions included in secret clauses of the contract over the highway.

    According to the paper, Bechtel has cashed in two-three times more money than the value of its works there since 2004.
  • Gandul writes the Bucharest Challenge races organized in Bucharest over the weekend brought to light “the disaster of our Capital’s streets” as racing cars had trouble with the many holes and gaps in the road.

    According to the paper, the issue raises questions about how the company that “fixed” the road on the race route was selected as multi-annual maintenance was already being provided by an Austrian firm.
  • Also in Gandul, quoting a EBRD study, over 50% of Romanians believe the economic situation in Romania has gotten worse since the 1989 revolution and that only 30% of them believed the political environment evolved positively throughout the period.




















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