Romania's December 9 parliamentary elections: actors, context, stakes Some 18.2 million Romanian voters are expected to cast their ballots in parliamentary elections on December 9. The poll is a key moment in a political storm pitching the governing alliance of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL) against President Traian Basescu over the past seven months, a storm which sparked rising Western criticism of Romania's compliance with the rule of law and European values and amplified the stakes for the economic, political and international future of the country.
​OPINION "Uzbekistanisation" of Romania - a country on a brink US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday gave a terrible blow to the double-faced policy promoted by Romania's governing coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL), who are wearing a pro-Western mask before foreign officials and journalists while launching furious attacks on institutions and ignoring any economic reform when at home.  Clinton held a tough speech in which she mentioned Romania along former USSR countries and Hungary as countries with democratic difficulties. The speech came a few days after European Commission officials had sent the least wanted message from Brussels, the Commission is unwilling to conclude a new precautionary accord along the IMF in 2013 because Romania has not fulfilled its promises in the current accord. The two pieces of news mean two things: Romania's access to funding will be more expensive, while investors are to avoid Romania. could not be accessed Wednesday morning following "DNS poisoning attack" The Romanian-language version of Google has not been accessible for many Romanian users for several hours on Wednesday following what a report called a DNS poisoning attack. Google has said its services in Romania were not attacked, but that for a short period of time some and other web services users were redirected to another website. For a while in the morning, the users could see the interface replaced with a message from an "Algerian hacker".
Romania marks 10 years since invitation to join NATO The Romanian Presidency marked on Wednesday 10 years since Romania was invited to join NATO. The ceremony was a rare moment when incumbent President Traian Basescu and predecessors Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu were seen together, in the company of ambassadors and other officials. US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein used the occasion to describe the US-Romania partnership as essential for NATO's European missile shield.
US Ambassador to Romania warns against renewed talks on changing law on integrity agency US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein has told that any initiative to renew talks on changing law regulating the National Integrity Agency (ANI) - which focuses on the wealth and interests of Romanian officials would be a very bad idea and would not be well received by the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, by the EU or the US. He urged Romanian authorities to prove caution in this regard. His statements came a day after he said Romania was facing difficult elections that may divide the people and that worried him.
Russia Ambassador to be invited to Romania Foreign Ministry in traffic accident case​ Russia's Ambassador to Bucharest Oleg Malginov will be "invited" to the Romanian Foreign Ministry "as soon as possible" for discussions on a traffic accident involving a Russian diplomat, which took place in Bucharest on Sunday, Foreign minister Titus Corlatean said on Tuesday, pointing out that the driver involved in the crash refused an alcohol text.
European leaders spoke in Bucharest about danger of populism in Europe. Meanwhile, Romania governing coalition pushes nationalism in popular electoral meeting Angela Merkel, Jose Barroso, Traian Basescu and other European leaders who attended the European Popular Party congress in Bucharest on Thursday spoke of the threat of populism in Europe and of the need of a deeper European integration. Meanwhile in the Romanian capital, the governing coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL) organized a major event in the city's National Arena stadium to launch their candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The event was marked by a series of nationalist and populist speeches.
Traian Basescu returns to Romania Presidency​ Romanian President Traian Basescu, who was suspended by the Parliament and faced a referendum to remove him from office earlier this summer, returned to Presidency on Tuesday after a Constitutional Court decision that the referendum was invalid was published in the Official Gazette on Monday evening.
Romania Parliament takes note of Constitutional Court decision invalidating referendum to dismiss president. Traian Basescu to return to Presidency Romania's Parliament took note on Monday of a Constitutional Court decision to invalidate the July 29 referendum to dismiss President Traian Basescu. The publication of the Court decision in the Official Gazette is the last necessary step prior to Basescu's return to presidency and it may happen as early as Monday evening. The Parliament session today was not without trouble, as it started two hours late because of a boycott by the governing coalition of Liberals and Social Democrats, who oppose Basescu.
UPDATE Romania interim president Antonescu, PM Ponta say they will comply with Court decision allowing suspended president Basescu return to office, call decision "unfair" and Basescu "illegitimate" head of state​ Romania's interim President Crin Antonescu said on Tuesday he and his National Liberal Party would comply with a Constitutional Court earlier today allowing suspended President Traian Basescu return to office. But Antonescu said the Court decision was "unfair" for the 8.5 million people who voted in a referendum to dismiss Basescu and that he and his party would not recognize him politically, as Basescu "is an illegitimate president". Referring to a statement weeks ago that he would withdraw from politics should Basescu return to office, Antonescu said he would not do so considering the massive vote to dismiss Basescu.UPDATE Crin Antonescu and other Liberal leaders said on Tuesday they would not exclude a new attempt to suspend President Basescu in the future.UPDATE 2 PM Victor Ponta, a Social Democrat, also said on Tuesday the Court decision would be complied with, but called it "unfair" and "against democratic rules".
UPDATE Constitutional Court invalidates referendum to dismiss suspended President. Traian Basescu to return to Presidency The nine judges of Romania's Constitutional Court decided on Tuesday that the July 29 referendum to dismiss suspended President Traian Basescu was invalid. Six members of the Court decided to invalidate the poll and three against it. The vote means President Traian Basescu, who has been suspended by the Parliament, returns to the Presidency. The judges convened today to decide whether the referendum was valid or not. The Court session came after weeks of political turmoil as the governing coalition led by Social Democratic PM Victor Ponta and interim President Crin Antonescu has been trying hard to find ways so that a Court decision force Basescu to leave. The struggle has drawn massive criticism and suspicions about rule of law in Romania.
Romania PM Victor Ponta announces key changes in Government reshuffle Romanian PM Victor Ponta announced on Monday a series of proposals to change key members of his government, saying they were already accepted by interim President Crin Antonescu. He announced new ministers for the Interior and Administration Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Justice Ministry. The move comes after Interior minister Ioan Rus and another minister announced their resignation on Monday morning.
Romania Interior minister resigns accusing pressure from suspended president and interim president Romania's Interior and Administration minister Ioan Rus announced his resignation on Monday accusing pressure from both suspended President Traian Basescu and interim President Crin Antonescu. His resignation comes amid continuing political turmoil as Romania still waits for a final result of the June 29 referendum to dismiss President Basescu because of disputes on the voter lists used in the poll.
Political crisis continues as Romania's Constitutional Court postpones decision on referendum to dismiss president Basescu, pressure mounts on economy​ Romania's Constitutional Court (CCR) decided on Thursday to postpone until September 12 a decision on the validation of the Sunday referendum to dismiss the president, in which not enough votes were cast to exceed a 50% turnout threshold needed for the ballot to take effect. The news was announced by a CCR judge, quoted by TV news channels. The Court decision to postpone such a decision does little to solve the political crisis affecting Romania for the past weeks. Romania's central bank governor was among the last to warn today that a calmer domestic political life would help alleviate pressures on the economy.UPDATE CCR later issued a press release showing that the postponement of a decision was due to "contradicting data" regarding the number of people on electoral lists.
Final vote count in referendum to dismiss Romania president: 46.24% of listed voters cast their ballots, less than 50% threshold needed to validate poll Voter turnout in the Sunday referendum, in which Romanians were asked if they agreed to dismiss President Traian Basescu, stood at 46,24%, according to final figures released by the Central Electoral Office on Wednesday morning. The percentage comes short of the threshold of 50% of listed voters needed for the referendum to be validated. Also on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court is due to convene for a decision whether to validate or invalidate de referendum, with the governing alliance which pushed for Basescu's impeachment now claiming that the participation threshold was exceeded, considering what they call the real number of Romanian voters.
Political struggle continues as Romania waits for final results of referendum to dismiss president Romania's governing coalition and suspended President Traian Basescu's team on Monday morning both claimed victory in the Sunday referendum in which the people were asked to decide whether Basescu should be dismissed or not. Their statements came despite a final verdict from the central electoral office on whether voter turnout was enough to validate the referendum, with preliminary figures showing that a necessary threshold of 50%+1 of listed voters has not been met.
UPDATE EXIT POLLS: About 85% of Romanian voters opt in favor of dismissing President Traian Basescu in Sunday referendum, but two hours before closing polls turnout was smaller than necessary threshold for validation. Turnout at closing polls: 45,92% 86,9% of Romanian active voters voted in favor of dismissing President Traian Basescu and 13% against it in the Sunday referendum, but voter turnout stood at 44.01% at 9 p.m., two hours before closing polls, according to an Operations Research exit poll presented by news channel Realitatea TV at 11.00 p.m.. A separate exit poll by CCSB company for Antena 3 news channel showed 84% of active voters voted in favor of the impeachment and 16% against it, with a turnout of 44% by 9 p.m. 50% plus one of the total number of listed voters in Romania have to cast their votes by 11 p.m. for the referendum to be validated, with President Basescu and his political supporters urging people not to attend the poll, which they call a "coup d'etat" by the governing coalition. UPDATE Preliminary turnout data for closing polls (11.00 p.m.) announced by the Central Electoral Office late in the night show 45.92% of the total number of listed voters cast their ballots in the referendum, less than the 50%+1 threshold for the referendum to be validated.
Voting day: Referendum starts in Romania to dismiss suspended President Traian Basescu Polling stations across Romania opened early on Sunday for a referendum in which suspended President Traian Basescu faces the vote of the people, who are to choose whether to dismiss him from office or not. The referendum comes three weeks after a decision by the Parliament to suspend the President on grounds that he breached the Constitution, a move which has been described by Basescu and his supporters as a "coup d'etat" and which was based on measures harshly criticized across the European Union. The suspended head of state and his political supporters have urged the people to resist this by refusing to cast their vote today.UPDATE 1 Voter turnout by 10.00 a.m. in the Sunday referendum was 9.05% of the population, the Central Electoral Office announced. Turnout was slightly higher in rural areas (an average of 9.10%) as well as in Bucharest, where turnout stood at 9.39%.UPDATE 2 Voter turnout by 2.00 p.m. stood at 21.37%, according to data collected by the Central Electoral officeUPDATE 3 Turnout at 5.00 p.m. stood at a little more than half the needed votes for the referendum to be validated - 26.89%, according to estimations of the Central Electoral Office.UPDATE 4 Voter turnout at 8 p.m., three hours before closing polls, stood at 37.67%, according to data announced by the Central Electoral Office.
Deal signed by leaders of Romania governing coalition speaks of dismantling key justice, anti-corruption bodies. PM Victor Ponta calls it "intoxication", another signatory confirms it​ ​A document posted on the Internet and indicated by newspaper Adevarul depicts a deal signed by the leaders of Romania's governing coalition with a union of redundant military personnel, other trade unions and civil society organizations. It speaks of dismantling such key state institutions as the Constitutional Court, the National Integrity Agency, the National Anti-Corruption Department and the body studying the archives of the Communist-era secret police, the Securitate. The head of the redundant military personnel's union confirmed the document as real but said it was a draft deal which has to be discussed in detail. For his part, PM Victor Ponta said he only signed the first page of the document and that the story was fabricated by suspended President Traian Basescu's staff.
Romania's Plot to Steal Titan-Nadrag-Calan - Part II Recently uncovered minutes of the Romanian government's plot to steal Titan-Nadrag-Calan from Jewish industrialist Max Ausnit in 1941 are disturbingly similar to the recent efforts of a former Romanian government to confiscate 85% of his descendants' property rights in the same steel plant (as described in the May 2012 issue of The Romanian Digest).Read the first part of the article here


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