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What the newspapers say: February 19, 2007

de     HotNews.ro
Luni, 19 februarie 2007, 0:00


Romanian newspapers on Monday discuss the reasons behind ongoing moves to reshuffle the government and their implications for the tense political stage in Bucharest, as public focus turns to a renewed proposal to introduce the uninominal vote in parliamentary elections.

The papers also wonder what happens to the “country brand” Romania is trying so hard to promote, in a time when some of its most prestigious assets are completely ignored.

Cotidianul reports that representatives of the three parties forming the governing coalition - the Democrats (PD), the Liberals (PNL) and the Hungarian Democrats (UDMR) - will meet later this month to discuss a new government reshuffle.

According to the paper, some details have leaked about what coalition parties are planning to do in order to avoid a possible motion against them in the parliament, which some opposition representatives have already announced.

The paper says one way to avoid such a motion against the whole government is to delegate competencies of key members of the government, removing several seats of deputy prime ministers and minister-delegates.

One key obstacle the government has to pass in its confrontation with the opposition is Justice minister Monica Macovei, who retains her seat despite the opposition, with support from several MPs from the coalition camp, successfully passed a simple motion against her in Parliament last week.

According to Gandul, Macovei has a very strong support in Western countries and even in the European Commission, even if people in Brussels try to avoid any more public signs of support for the Romanian minister.

Still, German MPs spoke publicly in Macovei’s support over the weekend, including Bundestag deputy speaker Susanne Kastner who warned about the possibility of an activation of a safeguard clause against Romania due to the vote of distrust Macovei has received in the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Evenimentul Zilei discusses plans announced by the President to introduce a uninominal vote for parliamentary elections.

While long pressed for by the civil society, the uninominal vote may first lead to all sorts of manele (gypsy folk) singers and local political and business moguls entering the Parliament, the newspaper believes.

But it argues that after a first round of such elections voters will understand that performance is more important than notoriety.

And it believes that in the new electoral system small parties pulled by one strong leader - such as Corneliu Vadim Tudor’s far-right Greater Romania Party or Gigi Becali’s populist New Generation Party - will have little chance to make a relevant appearance in the Parliament.

Jurnalul National tries to describe what would happen in 2007 if all plans to shake the political stage are applied. If that happens, Romanians will see this year a round of European Parliament elections and two referendums, one of which may prompt early presidential elections.

Cotidianul writes about a different kind of referendum, as a legislative initiative to change the Constitution may be discussed in Parliament to ban polygamy and gay marriages. According to the newspaper, a civic initiative committee managed to collect 500,000 signatures to support such a change.

Meanwhile, the same Cotidianul writes that recent moves to renew efforts for the creation of a “country brand” for Romania have little chance of success as it has real difficulties in key areas such as dealing with negative aspects of many things Romanian, clearing up the grey landscape of Romanian cities and understanding the mentality of foreign visitors.

One sample of bad brand management comes from Romania libera, which reports that a major symbol of Romania, artist Constantin Brancusi, is revived only for celebrations as what he left behind draws little attention usually.

According to the paper, Brancusi’s memorial house in Hobita is left in ruin, as is his tomb in Paris, while those who should look for the originality of his work regard an invasion of imitative artifacts indifferently.
























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