Romanian newspapers on Tuesday discuss thoroughly the situation created by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s decree yesterday that the governing alliance as it was is now dead. Plans to withdraw Romanian troops from Iraq, conflicting stands on a controversial tax for cars, and Mafia-like links throughout Romanian politics spice up media reports today.
Liberal PM Tariceanu said yesterday that Liberal Party’s (PNL) alliance with the Democrats (PD) was now dead and that plans were under way for a government reshuffle. Prepared by weeks of political uncertainty, newspapers today try to establish what the effects of these events will be.
Romania libera speaks of an “ugly divorce” between the two governing parties and writes that a government reshuffle should be expected in two or three days, without Democratic ministers.
But once the proper government changed, Cotidianul warns it would not be easy task for the Liberals to rewrite the whole structure of the dying alliance, as the PM and his men would have to find replacements for no less than 1,500 experts placed in key positions by the Democrats following the 2004 elections. And that may raise a serious human resources problem.
For its part, Evenimentul Zilei argues that the death of the alliance would not happen naturally: the breakup of the governing coalition must be attested in court, and the Constitutional Court should establish whether the President must accept PM Tariceanu’s new ministerial nominations or not.
And Jurnalul National believes that the future government would only be formed of the Liberals and the Hungarian Democrats-UDMR (a minor member of the current government). Which means the Liberals would not try to forge an parliamentary majority with any of the governing parties.
Meanwhile, Adevaruldiscusses renewed confrontations between the prime minister and President Traian Basescu on a government-supported first registration car tax. The tax, presented as a means to prevent a major flow of used cars on the Romanian market from Western countries, has been challenged by the European Commission.
According to the paper, while new car importers support the tax, average buyers are opposing it and smaller importers and car operators have already been petitioning against it to European fora.
Cotidianul focuses on another issue of the day - PM Tariceanu’s decision that he would do his best to withdraw Romanian troops from Iraq by Christmas.
According to the newspaper, Tariceanu’s PNL party prepares a major offensive to support the move in the Parliament, but the debate might be blocked in the Supreme Defense Council where the President and key intelligence chiefs may oppose it.
The same Cotidianul reports that all Romanian officials who ruled over the energy sector in the first half of this decade have become “slaves of silence”: they all claim they had no idea of how the country’s cheap energy was sold to private traders just to be resold at huge prices afterwards.
The newspaper report comes as a major organized crime investigation is under way in cases of large scale energy deals against the interest of Romanian state producers.
And Evenimentul Zilei reports that Russian oligarchs “with major interests” in Romania are joining the European Union with this country.
According to the paper, major Russian businessmen such as Oleg Deripaska and Igor Zyuzin have established strong connections that help them boost their businesses in Romania discreetly - such as Deripaska’s negotiations to take over the whole Romanian aluminum industry.
Last but not least, Romania libera quotes US deputy Secretary of State Nicholas Burns who said in Brussels on Monday that the next NATO summit may be held in Bucharest.
The statement comes as NATO is debating a plan to grant internationally controlled independence to Serbian province Kosovo, a plan which the US supports, according to the paper.