Romanian newspapers on Monday report extensively on suspended President Traian Basescu’s latest stunt that gathered thousands of people in a Bucharest protest to challenge the decision of the Parliament last week to suspend the head of state. The papers are also trying to decipher the fate of the clash pitching Basescu against the Parliament in a coming referendum on the suspension.
And they also focus on issues related to Romanian workers abroad and to European investments in Romania.
Some 6,000 people joined the pro-presidential demonstration in the Constitution Square in downtown Bucharest on Sunday evening, Romania libera writes.
It reports that suspended President Traian Basescu attended the meeting accompanied by dismissed Justice minister Monica Macovei, prefacing the start of a referendum campaign where he will woo Romanians not to vote in favor of his suspension.
Gandul takes a different stand and mocks at Basescu’s performance yesterday: “Basescu-Superstar is showing off”, the paper writes, taking Basescu’s speech in the Constitution Square with a grain of salt and delivering it to readers as a sample of presidential populism.
So does Jurnalul National, owned by Basescu’s rival, Conservative Party leader Dan Voiculescu. The paper writes that the meeting yesterday evening depicted two worlds: “poor people brought in vans from across the country and pro-Basescu politicians”.
But Cotidianul describes an electrifying Basescu, who compared the referendum campaign to the fight of St. George with the dragon. The referendum, due to take place in May, will have people decide whether Basescu should be dismissed from office or not, after the Parliament suspended him with a large majority last week.
Basescu said he would not resign but campaign against suspension - the chances of which are minimal, as Evenimentul Zilei considers. The newspaper recalls that 50%+1 voters have to vote against him in the referendum in order to have him removed from office.
Evenimentul Zilei writes that if a record number of 12 million voters vote in a referendum, 75% of them would have to vote against Basescu at a time when opinion polls show he is the most popular politician in the country.
But the paper writes that the opposition Social Democrats are planning to change the rules in a way where the head of state would be dismissed if a majority of voters - no matter the total number -vote in favor of the suspension.
And it quotes officials from both the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the governing Liberals (PNL) who warned that if the referendum fails, they “will suspend Basescu once again” If needed.
Meanwhile, the papers try to clear up what interim President Nicolae Vacaroiu, the Senate speaker, can and can’t do and what he is planning to do during the several weeks he’s due to run the country.
Cotidianul goes technical and reports that Vacaroiu has taken over his seat at the presidential palace and is due to name a new spokesperson - Roxana Nica, a journalist for the Antena 1 TV, controlled by Basescu’s rival and Conservative Party leader Dan Voiculescu.
Adevarul writes that despite the Parliament sanctioning Basescu for his moves as a “player-president”, Vacaroiu depicts himself as a player-president himself.
He has already listed his priorities - to convene the Supreme Defense Council to discuss the pending national security laws and to hold weekly talks with PM Tariceanu and National Bank governor Mugur Isarescu.
According to Gandul, for his 30 days in office “Vacaroiu plans to do what he couldn’t do during his two year stay in the Senate”.
He wants, among others, to revive the law on establishing a National Integrity Agency (ANI) to deal with the wealth of elected officials, a law that’s been sitting at the Senate for months.
Romania libera writes that Vacaroiu plans to approve of laws that have been opposed by Basescu in their current form - including the national security laws, in the form submitted by his Liberal rivals, which Basescu said were outdated.
According to Gandul, both Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu have informed European Commission President Jose Barroso about the crisis in Romania, who replied that he hoped the crisis would be solved by Romanian institutions according to democratic and constitutional principles as fast as possible.
Elsewhere in the papers, Evenimentul Zilei turns its eyes on Romanians workers abroad and quotes a manager of a recruiting company, Gabriel Huides, according to whom homesickness drops the efficiency of workers leaving their homes by some 50%.
Cotidianul writes that Spaniards are paying good money to get rid of Romanian workers established in their country: a Spanish NGO is building houses in Romania for immigrants who want to return home from Spain.
And Gandul writes that Romania is about to lose a quarter of the 440 million euro delivered by the European Commission in subsidies for agriculture because of a lack of funding requests. The deadline for submissions is May 15.