The shadow of ex-President Ion Iliescu grows larger on current events in Romania, newspapers show on Monday as they prepare for another week of political games of referendum and early election plans. The usual Monday reports on obscure deals and businesses of major impact tackle the fleet of national airline Tarom and modernization works at a key energy unit on River Danube.
Also today, an investigation on how many Romanians working abroad opt not to return home, and a new scandal looming in national football.
Ex-President Ion Iliescu, who ruled Romania in 1990-1996 and 2000-2004 and is currently investigated for a violent miners’ intervention against anti-establishment protests in Bucharest in June 1990, faces new trouble.
According to Gandul, he is rather disturbed that former Army officers in Romania have passed information on the so-called “miners’ crusade” that year to prosecutors investigating him.
According to excerpts of a military log of June 13, 1990, when chaos took over Bucharest pitching miners against anti-communist, anti-Iliescu protesters, Iliescu himself “informed” the military that the latter were members of a “fascist” movement.
The same Iliescu takes center stage in another scandal these days. He’s been pressing to obtain a right of reply on the national TV station TVR after current President Traian Basescu attacked him in a TVR interview earlier this year.
That, according to Cotidianul, is one reason for which television boss Tudor Giurgiu plans to dismiss the head of the News Department, Rodica Culcer, generally seen as an apt News manager tainted by her biased political comments in other media.
But the tensions between Basescu and Iliescu are nothing compared to the political struggles affecting Romania these days. Romania libera announces new multi-party talks on Monday and Tuesday to set the fate of European Parliament elections due to take place in Romania and originally scheduled for May 13.
The organization of the poll is linked by Basescu’s opponents to his plans to organize a referendum to introduce uninominal votes in Romanian general elections, a move aimed at cleaning the political stage in the country.
According to Gandul, the situation in this regard is rather sensitive for Basescu’s rival, Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who if the president opts to postpone the referendum will be forced to seek support from the opposition Social Democrats, thus affecting his stand in the future elections.
Meanwhile, the same Gandul reports that a majority of airplanes operated by Romanian airline company Tarom, bought in 1990 with public money, are not in the property of the company, but of shady firms established in fiscal paradises.
Cotidianul shows more interest in the economy of the Romanian football industry. It has found out that fiscal inspections at Bucharest-based football clubs have been suspended and their debts are no longer available without the signature of Finance minister Sebastian Vladescu.
The paper quotes fiscal officials who blame the situation on “political decisions” as the influence of the football clubs on politics is well known in Romania.
For its part, Evenimentul Zilei brings what it calls “proof” that the Portile de Fier I electricity plant on River Danube has been the subject of a massive robbery with political backing back in the nineties.
The paper quotes an audit report which found serious irregularities in the modernization works at PdF 1, resulting in losses of 30 million US dollars.
Also in Evenimentul Zilei, Romanian workers abroad are not interested in a Government initiative last week luring them with various labor bonuses to bring them home from Western Europe.
The reasons quoted by people the newspaper quotes are higher wages in the West, the lack of a bribery culture and of bureaucracy, as well as bad conditions in hospitals back home.