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What the newspapers say: June 19, 2007

Marţi, 19 iunie 2007, 0:00

The local elections that took place in the Moldovan Republic this weekend still reverberate in Romanian newspapers with an interview with the new Liberal mayor of Chisinau and reports of the country “instability” ranking. On the Bucharest political stage, one paper notes the prospects of a big-money deal by which the main opposition group would support the Liberal government.

And the troubles of the Romanian education system, with an expected ban on religious symbols and a politician’s call that force be used on disobedient children draw considerable attention in the media today.

Evenimentul Zilei interviews the elected mayor of Chisinau, Liberal Dorin Chirtoaca, now 29, who is a lawyer by academic formation and a TV director by experience as he served as editor-in-chief of a popular TV show in Romania.

He says he chose to return to Chisinau and run in the local elections this month “so that I can contribute to change” in Romania’s ex-Soviet neighbor.

According to the paper, the defeat suffered by ruling communists in the Moldovan Republic before Chirtoaca is all the more serious as it offers a good perspective for anti-communist forces in the 2009 general elections.

For its part, Romania libera quotes a Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace report according to which the Moldovan Republic stands below Belarus, Eritreea and Papua New-Guinea, but above Cambodia in a lisk of rankings regarding the instability of countries across the world.

Speaking of stability, the governing Liberals (PNL) in Bucharest are trying to achieve one on the political stage by trying to obtain the support of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats (PSD).

The question is, according to Romania libera, that the PSD demands no less than one billion euro from the Government in order to deliver that support - in the form of development money for town halls controlled by the PSD.

The PSD itself is seeking stability within party ranks as party president Mircea Geoana urged top leaders of the group to stop harassing themselves in the media.

That comes as a leader of an influential regional branch of the party, Vasile Dancu from Cluj, Transylvania, attacked a top official of the group, Marian Vanghelie, by saying that the party needed “Social Democracy, not Gypsy behavior”, as Cotidianul puts it.

Speaking of discrimination, Evenimentul Zilei debates why homosexuals are discriminated in Romania, as proven at the latest Gay Parade in Bucharest which was marred by violence two weeks ago.

According to the paper, the high influence of the Orthodox Church and poverty among many Romanians are the cause of intolerance against sexual minorities in Romania.

The Orthodox Church may have something to say about another issue as well. Cotidianul reports that the Appeals Court in Bucharest has decided that the Education Ministry is the one to regulate the use of religious symbols in schools.

The Education Ministry now has to produce internal rules in this regard, as the court agreed with a recommendation by the National Council for Combating Discrimination to remove such symbols from schools.

According to the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Court decision does not fall in line with three other European Court for Human Rights decisions that had the local communities decide whether such symbols should stay in schools or not.

But those are not the only problems of the education system in Romania. According to Gandul, the head of the education commission in the House of Deputies, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, well known as a karate player, has found the solution for better school discipline: spanking.

According to the newspaper, Vasilescu believes “moderate force” should be used against disobedient pupils and even considers changes to the law to allow such practices.

Last but not least, Evenimentul Zilei quotes sources close to President Traian Basescu who say the head of state would not hurry to approve of two nominations pushed forward by Foreign minister Adrian Cioroianu to fill in the seats of Romania’s Ambassadors to Washington and London.

Basescu appears more concerned about Iulian Buga, nominee for the job as Ambassador to Washington, who was at the center of a scandal while serving as Ambassador to Netherlands.

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