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What the newspapers say: March 27, 2009

de Radu Rizea     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 27 martie 2009, 9:09 English | Press Review

Social Democrats go through an interior crisis, which brings against each other a former party president and the current leader. In the economic life, the optimistic statements made yesterday by the Central Bank Governor, Mugur Isarescu, were quickly contradicted by the IMF officials.

Former Romania president (also former Social Democrat leader) Ion Iliescu and the new party president, Mircea Geoana, are at war within the party. While Iliescu praises the new Liberal Party president, Crin Antonescu, just to annoy Geoana, Geoana responds by naming Lavinia Sandru (the leader of an obscure party that didn't make it in the Parliament after the last elections) as candidate for an European Parliamentarian seat. Iliescu recently said he will quit the party in case Sandru's nomination is approved, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Of course, most newspapers comment on the subject in a rather amused voice.

The corruption scandal that led a few days ago to the arrest of billionaire Puiu Popoviciu and of an intelligence service head has strong echoes in today's newspapers. An information leaked to the media, showing that the intelligence officer, Cornel Serban, attempted to influence the investigation of an anti-graft officer, Ion Motoc. Upon calling Motoc, Serban was trying to explain just how important Popoviciu is, claiming that prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and president Basescu "stand in line for an audience at Popoviciu's office", Gandul reads. The presidential administration replied instantly, announcing that president Traian Basescu never visited the headquarters of Popoviciu's company and had nothing to do with the property transfer that is now under investigation.

Cotidianul expands the research area around the scandal and counts the "heavy names" involved in Popoviciu's fast pace to become one of Romania's richest people. Former ministers Crin Antonescu, Radu Vasile, Alexandru Athanasiu, Decebal Traian Remeş and Laszlo Borbely signed in 1999 the decisions that made Popoviciu owner of one of the largest sports and leisure resorts in Bucharest. Traian Basescu and he nowadays Economy Minister, Adriean Videanu, approved the using of public funds in order to ensure the infrastructure development in the area where Popoviciu was building a residential complex. Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, Tudor Chiuariu, Zsolt Nagy and Varujan Vosganian signed governmental orders to facilitate the development of another real estate project, involving Puiu Popoviciu and the Romanian Postal Service.

The head of the International Monetary Fund's office in Romania, Fernandez Ansola, made a series of pessimistic estimations on the Romanian economy, Cotidianul reads. "Romania is officially in recession. The fourth quarter in 2008 had a negative growth, the first quarter in 2009 will be the same. Officially, after two quarters of negative growth, an economy is in recession. The negative growth may be maintained the entire year. 2010 may indeed bring a stagnation", said Ansola. The very same day, the Romania Central Bank Governor, Mugur Isarescu, announced that the end of the year may bring a positive growth.


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