Preparations are in full swing for the May 19 referendum that will decide whether suspended President Traian Basescu returns or leaves office for good, and the papers are trying to keep up with them. They also focus on the state of the Justice system, which has become the subject of a new warning from the US Embassy to Bucharest.
And one newspaper quotes unofficial warnings of the high risk that a new reactor of the Cernavoda nuclear plant poses for Romania’s national security.
Romanians eat referendum for breakfast, Evenimentul Zilei writes. The newspaper publishes a couple of featured reports
Evenimentul Zilei depicting the divisions that the referendum has split local communities in supporters and opponents of the suspended President.
And it also presents the people that are running the advertising campaigns while quoting another expert who says that both the anti-Basescu and the pro-Basescu campaigns are semi-failures: the former because they break basic rules of advertising, and the latter because “they associate Basescu’s image with a monkey” that doesn’t hear, speak or see.
In a separate report, Evenimentul Zilei wonders what those who are deeply involved in the political crisis today have done since the Romanian 1989 revolution.
The paper places both suspended President Basescu and his rivals - the “eternal” Ion Iliescu, the country’s first and longest serving post-communist leader, businessman Dinu Patriciu, businessman Dan Voiculescu - in an effort to prove that “the country we come from is not much different from the country we’ll live in from now on”.
For its part, Cotidianul reports that in a TV show last night Basescu accused his arch-rival Ion Iliescu, the honorary leader of the Social Democrats (PSD, opposition), of having orchestrated his suspension because Iliescu was afraid he might be accused of genocide related to the last days of the Revolution.
According to Basescu, the necessary elements are coming together to form accusations that the last days of the Revolution, when Iliescu was in power already, were a time of genocide.
Meanwhile, newspapers hint that the alliances formed in Parliament to challenge the authority of Traian Basescu are changing.
According to Evenimentul Zilei, PSD leader Mircea Geoana is not at all pleased of how PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s Liberals (PNL) were involved in the referendum campaign against Basescu and threatened to change the tone, given the “modest support” for PSD’s concerted efforts to have Basescu removed from office.
And Gandul reports that the PSD is leaning towards a closer partnership with the far-right Greater Romania Party (PRM) led by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a party that has consistently contributed to the campaign against Basescu.
The move comes after two years of isolation for PRM, as no party wanted to form an alliance with them given the efforts to join the European Union.
But according to Cotidianul, the PNL-PSD partnership that has come to light after Basescu’s suspension is not history yet. The two will practically make and break things at a Supreme Defense Council dealing with disputed national security laws and other issues, which is due to take place today, the paper writes.
The same Cotidianul notes that as US Ambassador to Romania Nicholas Taubman warned that the current situation in the Romanian justice sector raises many questions in Washington and expressed his support for Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) chief Daniel Morar yesterday, Morar himself was declared war by the leadership of the House of Deputies in Bucharest.
Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi were fiercely attacked by House speaker Bogdan Olteanu, who called her “disturbingly stupid” yesterday. And Morar’s dismissal has been called by several top Liberal officials for several days.
Also in the papers today: Romania libera quotes three experts who warn that starting the newly installed reactor of the Cernavoda nuclear plant in Romania would threaten the national security - claims that were denied categorically by authorities.
The three experts each came with a different argument, varying from outdated components to fist-large holes in reactors to a lack of checks on how they’d perform in an earthquake-prone country like Romania.