Preparations for the upcoming referendum to remove President Basescu from office and the usual May Day-related reports dominate Romanian newspapers on Tuesday as only a handful of titles hit the stand today, and one of them only in a short online edition.

The Romanian Government dominated by President Traian Basescu’s Liberal rivals no longer wants to put up the 13 supplementary voting sections in areas abroad where substantial Romanian communities are living, as the May 19 referendum when Basescu’s fate as head of state will be decided approaches, according to Evenimentul Zilei.

The newspaper says the government changed his mind on installing voting sections abroad because most Romanians living and working there would vote against the dismissal of President Basescu.

The same Evenimentul Zilei writes that opposition leader Mircea Geoana of the Social Democrats (PSD) reported most gains in terms of media prominence, beating President Traian Basescu by far in terms of appearances on the country’s two TV news stations.

According to a monitoring report for mid-April, Mircea Geoana registered the highest number of televised statements, followed by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu and President Basescu. The number of negative reports on Basescu grew on both TV stations, while the number of positive reports remained nil.

On a completely different subject, the same Evenimentul Zilei reports that some 20,000 Romanian tourists landed in the country’s seaside resorts for the short May Day holiday.

That came as a surprise for hotel owners in Romanian resorts, who had expected that most Romanian tourists will drop their hotels in favor of an all-out vacation in Bulgaria, as it happened over the past couple of years.

According to Gardianul, only 10,000 Romanian tourists are evaluated to spend their May Day holiday in Bulgaria, with an additional 6,000 in Greece and some 1,000 in Turkey as the 2007 summer season opens throughout the region.

Adevarul takes a different view and reports that the Romanian budget loses some 110 million euro for each non-working day. The losses, however, are partially recovered by the high level of consumption and tourism costs.

Elsewhere in the papers:

Cotidianul tells in its online edition the dramatic story of four students in the city of Iasi who have killed a company manager in northern Moldova and buried the body in the woods. The four were identified recently at the end of an inquiry that seemed to lead nowhere on many occasions.

Adevarul reports that Romania is protesting at EU and Council of Europe-level as Ukraine reopens the controversial Bastroe Canal near the Danube Delta in May, which according to authorities in Bucharest destroys the Delta eco-system.